To all readers of the Bishop Burton Magazine a happy New Year, may the year ahead bring you peace and contentment.
We’ve celebrated the coming of our Lord and now is the time when our thoughts may turn to the possibilities that the new year has in store. Maybe you are a person who makes promises to yourself about what you will do with this year ahead.
 So just how good are you at keeping New Year resolutions?
 Hopefully better than I am. Realising the disappointment of not being able to keep to what I hoped to achieve I decided few years ago not to make any more New Year’s resolutions because of that feeling that I have of letting myself down when I break them.  So, I thought here’s a resolution I will be able to keep that is not to make any more New Year’s resolutions, a bit defeatist you  may be thinking, not so, for this doesn’t stop me thinking about how I might do things differently, or reflecting on the past year, its blessing and missed opportunities.
It doesn’t seem possible that another year has gone by, yet it has and as I reflect on the past year there are so many things that have happened, so many thing to be thankful for, joyous events and occasions; particularly my ordination and getting to know you folks in Bishop Burton and the worship we have shared together and yes also there have been other events less so. There have been lots of things that I have been able to do, but if I’m honest with myself there have also been things which I have failed to do or could have done better, for whatever reason.
When a New Year comes along, reflection on the past twelve months is not an unusual activity for us to engage in, and it can be a useful thing to do as it enables us to draw breath and think carefully about what has recently happened in our lives. Yet, as we look back on all that has happened, we should do so remembering that what has happened is in the past, and there is nothing we can do to change it. This sort of reflection can, if we let it, aid our thinking about how we might do things differently in the future and maybe this is why so many people make a New Year’s resolution whether they are able to stick to them or not.
The other part of a New Year celebration is a looking forward to the coming year, hopefully with excited expectation, to all the things we will be doing. Again a useful activity, as it is always good to look forward to all the possibilities another year could have in store.
Whilst all this retrospection and looking forward are useful activities to do it is not the most important thing to do. Over the years I have met many people who are either constantly thinking about the past or the future, to an extent that they forget to think about something far more precious and important; the gift of the present moment. We need to remind ourselves of this because by dwelling too much on the past or thinking about the future will be at the expense of valuing the present moment. What Jesus had to say about not worrying about tomorrow, as today has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6: 25 – 34) is true but also I would add that each day has enough blessings of its own too. If our minds are either in the past or the future we are not able to perceive all that is happening in the present, and we miss much that life has to offer in being in the here and now.
‘As we rejoice in the gift of each new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you’. Amen (Common Worship Morning Prayer) 

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