I am thinking that as you read this message the Christmas decorations and cards will probably be down and back in their boxes. We will have had all the lovely celebrations for Christmas, our worship services, our nativity procession, our Christmas Tree Festival, which really enhanced the church, our visitors will be gone and life will have settled back into its routine. January will be us.

 

January is a time when we think ahead perhaps to plan events, I know that at All Saints we are already planning for the year ahead, maybe you are planning to start something new, a new project perhaps; it is a month of new possibilities, new beginnings, a new year, a new diary, a new time in our lives.

 

Time is a funny thing, when we are young there seems to be too much of it as it stretches ahead and we can’t wait to grow up to be able to do the things we see the older than us folks doing but now as we are that much older when we look back perhaps we wonder ‘where did that time go to?’

 

Time is precious, our time here on earth is finite so at the beginning of this new year let us look afresh at our priorities, what is really important in life, and I would urge you, but then I would, to make time for God, after all, he made time for us, surely this is why we celebrate Christmas.

 

On January 12th we celebrate the Baptism of Christ, when Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit. Each one of us also is also filled with the Spirit at our baptism; the same Spirit who is our guide and comforter, but also who disturbs and challenges. As we start this New Year, I'd encourage you to find some time, to sit quietly before God and ask his Spirit to speak to your heart. Is there something new, in thought or deed, that Christ is calling you to this year?

Listen to the voice of the Spirit and be ready for the unexpected. It may be exciting, it may be unsettling, but if it's a call from God, we are always given what we need to follow that call.

New things can be exciting and full of possibility, but can also mean uncertainty or apprehension but the Holy Spirit will be with us always; this is God’s promise to us.

May this be a prayer for all of us, words from the hymn by Dan Schutte.

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?

I have heard You calling in the night.

I will go Lord, if You lead me.

I will hold Your people in my heart.

Our vicar Angela will be leaving us in February to take up a new post as the Cleveland Archdeaconry Training Adviser and Diocesan Adviser for Lay Training. Angela has been with our group of parishes for 15 years, and yes we will be sorry to see her go but we wish her our love and God’s blessing as she responds to this new calling. Every blessing to you all for this New Year.

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