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Sarah Richardson’s article in the January Diary December 24, 2020

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
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As 2020 rolls to a close and we look to a new year, I imagine that few of us are sorry to see the back of what has been a truly extraordinary year. Usually, the new year brings with it a yearning for change and a desire to bring about new things, but perhaps this time round some of us are actually wishing we could bring back the old things. This time last year, few of us would think twice about being able to meet friends for lunch or sing together in church, and we probably didn’t notice when our children hugged their grandparents or how often we were in close proximity to others. But we’re still living with the ‘new normal’, albeit with the hope of an end to the worst of the pandemic in the near future.

So we might be feeling a little stuck between the old and the new, with things we are longing to be able to do again but also with things we’d like to keep from our ‘year like no other’. Communities across the UK, including our own, have found innovative and compassionate ways of caring for one another and patterns of living have changed, giving some people more flexibility in the shape of their week. The possibility of spending less time on the train and having more time for families or hobbies has certainly made a positive difference in my family. People who had been unable to attend groups and clubs previously have been able to join in online. And I think we’ve all been spending more time outside, which is surely good for us all, even if it just means mulled wine around a fire. I read an article recently about the boom in sales of thermal clothing, outdoor furniture and cycling gear, so some businesses have had a good year. And ‘shopping local’ seems to have come into its own, with many of us recognising the value of having a shop or pub near our homes, many of whom have gone above and beyond to serve and support their communities.

The God who came to earth as Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, is with us in our old and in our new. Throughout the Bible, and throughout our lives, God’s steadfastness gives people the firm hope needed to strike out for new things but also to cling on to the things that are important in our lives, even when the going is tough. God is present in all these things, in whatever we choose to include in the pick and mix of the old and the new this year.

With my best wishes for the start of 2021.

Rev Sarah Richardson

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