So a new year begins and for a short while many of us will keep the resolutions we have made to live differently, to make a new start. For most any changes will be short-lived, and somehow this will leave a sense of disappointment, and a depressing feeling that life will always be the same.
The uncertainties of 2017, Brexit, Mr Trump, North Korea and, closer to home for many, the further roll-out of Universal credit, will continue to cause anxiety. Peace of mind is difficult to come by.
One of the names given to Jesus Christ whose birth we have just celebrated is ‘Prince of Peace’, this is not peace across the world, that will not happen until He returns in glory, but a personal peace. This peace cannot be found in the world it is ‘The peace of God which passes all understanding’. It is the peace we receive when we come to God the Father and tell Him that we know we have done wrong, that we are sorry and that we want to live life His way not our own. Jesus laid aside the majesty that was His in heaven and came to show us what God the Father is like and then to die on the cross for our sins, to take on Himself the punishment that we deserve. His death has opened the way for us to enter into a right relationship with God the Father, the relationship God created Man for in the beginning.
In giving His only son to die on the cross God has held out His hand to us offering to give us new life, this is an offer that we each have to accept for ourselves. Jesus died for all but His sacrifice will only save those who believe for themselves and determine to live life honouring God.
As St John puts it,
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.’ (John 3 16-18)
As we enter 2018 may those who know God already resolve to honour His name and walk more closely in His ways. If you do not know Him and His peace in your life then why not resolve to look more closely at the life Jesus lived and the things He said. If you would like help in doing this then speak to one of the churchwardens. May we all know the blessings of God’s grace and peace in this New Year.
Rob Waugh (Churchwarden All Saints Hopton)