Every year I make a calendar for my family filled with favourite pictures from the year. I’m sent hundreds of photos by family members and I spend weeks working, getting it ‘just right’. As I looked back on the memories we have created, the importance of meaningful relationships struck me again. As we say goodbye to 2020, a year like none other in history, I started to think about what I want to take positively into 2021.
What has been evident throughout this year is a unique opportunity for us all to grow. Initially it struck me how much all of the eight children in the family have grown physically. With restrictions in place it’s highlighted how much they change in a year, especially when you can’t see them regularly. It started me thinking of the unique situation in lockdown and how, during the year, we’ve all changed and grown together as a family, as a couple, individually and as a church.
I read 2 Corinthians 13:11 on Boxing Day and the phrase ‘Grow in Christ’ stood out. ‘I close my letter with these last words: Be happy. Grow in Christ. Pay attention to what I have said. Live in harmony and peace. And may the God of love and peace be with you.’ (2 Corinthians 13:11 TLB)
As I listened to John’s Sunday talk ‘Standing at the crossroads’ he encouraged us to think about the year ahead and it fitted in well with my thoughts and the phrase ‘Grow in Christ’. Settling trust completely can feel almost impossible but what if, as the verse says, I actively choose to be happy and grow in Christ. I will then naturally grow in all other areas - faith, trust, peace, love and grace can grow too. All things that are in Christ, will be in us.
I thought, as I looked back, that life has a way of pushing us to places that we wouldn’t otherwise go. That means we can look forward with excitement to the New Year with all its opportunities in all circumstances.