So here we are at the end of 2020, a year that will one day be the subject of history lessons even in primary schools.
What follows is a bit of a ramble rather than a tidy reflection (a very long time ago, the subtitle of this blog was 'ramblings, reflections and rubbish', nothing much changes!)
It has been a year when we all learned new words and new skills - who, a year ago had a clue what 'Zoom Church' might mean, let alone live-streaming prayers, virtual voting or a hundred and one other bizarre online things that we have all learned to do.
It has been a complicated year, and for many a bewildering one. There has been much sadness, far too many deaths, and so many rule changes that even highly intelligent people are confused.
It has been a year of unexpected blessings, of people able to join us for online church who couldn't get to physical church, of people discovering that they could read/pray online when it was too scary in person (and people discovering it was OK to step back after long years of faithful service).
It has been a year of long walks and ludicrous numbers of photographs (I have taken around 10 thousand apparently!). A year of intentionality, of looking closely, of smelling flowers, listening to birdsong, savouring the early morning darkness. A year of going no further than I can walk (at least from mid-March, and with the notable exception of two permitted trips for wedding services) yet walking further than ever before.
It has been a year of long hours and long weeks, of phone calls and emails, of letters and cards, of unexpected kindnesses and surprise gifts.
It has been a year in which the word 'hope' has recurred over and over and over again. Sometimes a whisper, sometimes a shout.
It has been a strange year but, for me, it hasn't been a bad year. As it draws to its close, as I return to work after a short break, and as I start to prepare for the next year, I look back on a year in which there was much joy, much goodness, much love, and for that I am extremely grateful.
So, as the darkness of night deepens (it fell a while ago!) and as 2020 ebbs away, I have much to be thankful for, and much to ponder.
This morning I renewed my subscription to this blog platform for another year, so, however erratic or sporadic, there will still be stuff here for a while yet.
Thank you to those who have faithfully checked by, read this stuff and encouraged me to keep on blogging.
Oh, the photo? It's one I took a couple of days ago, when it was cold and frosty and gloriously sunny. There is beauty everywhere, and this year I have come to value it more than ever.