Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Time to pause and reflect on past year

COMING to the end of one year and approaching a new one is, for me, a little like approaching a crossroads.

 It is a time to take stock; to pause and look at how far I’ve come and if necessary, with firm resolve, to feel free to take a different path with a healthier outcome.  

A good New Year’s resolution can be the catalyst for positive change.  As Cardinal Newman said: “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often.”

As we reach the beginning of 2019, I feel that not only I, but the whole country, is standing at a crossroads, as we will enter into a significant year.

For many to arrive at a crossroads is not a positive experience.  For some, one road is a way to prosperity, for others ruin.  We cannot easily go back.  One road may be optimistic for some and raise anxiety for others.

The Prophet Jeremiah offers the following advice: “Halt at the crossroads, look well and ask yourselves which path it was that stood you in good stead long ago.  That path follow and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Jeremiah 6,16).

In these divided times, even this sage advice from of old might sound partisan — and nobody liked Jeremiah anyway!

To halt at the crossroads is a very good idea, both individually and collectively.

These days before New Year are best spent reflecting on the year that has passed.  Giving thanks for the good we have achieved, for those we love, and what we have received.

 Equally, we can learn the wise lessons from failure, our need for reconciliation, remember those we have lost, and how a new resolution might enrich us.

Remembrance was a good lesson we all shared throughout 2018 as we marked the end of the First World War.  

To halt, to pause, to remember, to reflect — in short, “to look well” is, I believe, just what we need at this time. 

To stand in this way, at the junction, is not at the crossroads, but the Cross.  

For Christians, the Cross of Christ is the place where this recollection and remembrance takes place.  It is where lessons are learned; mercy and forgiveness are granted; hope is reborn and new families forged.  Where young and old are united and new journeys begin.

To stand still in this way; to pause at New Year is not frailty, indifference, or passivity.  Far from it!  Often it is the deep breath which the runner or jumper takes before they leap forward.  

To give oneself time and to take time at the beginning of a new year is a great gift to ourselves.

The Cross remains a timeless symbol of God’s love for us. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever”.  (Hebrews 13,8).

I wish you a very Happy New Year!

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