“Happy New Year!”
When, I wonder, is it deemed too late in January to still wish one another a happy new year? A quick dip into Google (other search engines are available) came up with an answer offered up by 'party and wedding etiquette expert' Lisa Forde (a questionable qualification if you ask me but never mind..).’As reported in the Metro, it offered up the following;
Wishing someone Happy New Year or Merry Christmas can be a positive greeting but it does have a say by date. ‘Wishing someone Happy New Year after a week into January can be unwanted and insincere.’ And, in fact, Lisa argues that the well intended greeting could even have a negative effect on the person you are saying it to. ‘People want to settle into the new year as quickly as possible without being reminded that it is a new year, or that new year’s celebrations and Christmas are over. ‘This can be depressing, and can often feel they happened months ago, and being reminded won’t be appreciated.
So there you have it, except I disagree! This year particularly, perhaps as a recognition of the challenging time that 2020 was to so many, I will continue to wish, hope, and pray for a “Happy new year” for all I encounter, right through the year of 2021. Because of course we are still carrying other much more significant ‘when’ questions with us, which still require a happy resolution:
- when can I hug loved ones again?
- when can I travel?
- when can we meet up and be reunited?
- when will the vaccine be offered to me?
- when can I find work again?
- when will church be warm again?
These new year yearnings are felt all the more keenly, as the latest lockdown we now encounter considerably adds to the cold damp gloom of short winter days and long frozen nights. But just as "a dog isn’t just for Christmas”, neither are the bible verses that traditionally accompany our festive services, and I know many hold on in faith and hope to the familiar verse in John that declares; “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overwhelmed it".
So we face another lock down. Encouragingly this time, (mainly through the dedicated work of Sarah, Bishop of London, petitioning and informing the corridors of power that gathered religious worship is for some as essential as access to supermarkets for food) churches are allowed to remain open for safely conducted services on Sunday morning. Certainly, if our church heating was fully working, this would be my intention, augmented by access through Zoom which has served us so well. However, as was our experience last Sunday in our all age service, which enabled sharing and participation over the internet, any services that aren’t communion services, will take place solely on Zoom for the meantime. Communion services, on the second and fourth Sunday (the next one is this coming Sunday) will still be held in church, enabling those who wish to attend and receive in person, to do so. Zoom access will of course also be available to those who can’t.
So Happy New Year everyone! And may we continue to trust in the Lord, our light and salvation.
Keep in touch
Keep the faith.