It's been interesting reading posts on social media, and listene=ing to/watching broadcast media, as people have reflected on 2022. For some it has been charactersied by joy, happpiness, success and vitality. For others is has been sadness, loss, disappointment and regret. For most, I suspect, it's been just another year, with some highs, some lows and a lot of nothing much.
For me it has been very mixed - the good bits better and the bad bits worse than I might have imagined. And not just in terms of ministry, but in life as a whole.
I find myself strangely reticent to name any of the specifics.
Today I caught the end of the film of C S Lewis 'Shadowlands' and was reminded of these words:
'Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.'
In one of his books, 'The Four Loves' he wrote
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
This year has been characersied by a lot of loss as well as a lot of love... the two are inter-related.
I chose the photo here because it's a sunrise at or around thewinter solstice - even in the darkest days the sun rises and hope is born anew.
As we slip into 2023, the sun will rise, and the love of God will be as fresh new as it is every single day - and that's one certain promise to carry with me.
Wishing anyone who reads this a happy, hopeful, peaceful, joyful and above all love-filled New Year.