FOR good or bad, sacred or mundane, Christmas is over — well and truly over — and we find ourselves in a new year awaiting the credit card bills.
Judging by the noise as the glass recycling bins were emptied in our street, people must have celebrated the New Year with gusto.
Or were they just glad to see the end of 2011; was it “praise God for a new year” or “thank God the old year is over”?
How about you?
Are you looking forward to 2012?
Do you feel excited or anxious?
Will this leap year make you leap with joy or jump back in fright?
Weeks ago now, Christians celebrated the new Christian Year on the first Sunday in Advent, four Sundays before Christmas.
Advent worship begins each week by lighting a candle in an Advent wreath to symbolise hope, joy, love and peace, beginning with the candle of hope.
I believe if we begin this new year, indeed every new year (church, calendar, school, work) with hope in our hearts in the one who came in the birth of a child in a manger— hope in the one who came as a light to all people, to reveal to all people the God of love — then we will start on the right foot and face the right direction and go forward without fear.
With that hope in our hearts as we walk the path of life in 2012, as individuals, as community, as a nation, we will find we do not walk it alone, that we have companions on the journey, a light for our path and a vision for the future.
Facing a new year and a new future is never easy; indeed the Buddha says that for each of us life is ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows.
With that reality in mind my prayer for 2012 is that, filled with hope, we will work for a community at peace, a community who live joyfully and a community of love between all peoples.
Rev Ron Larkin, Moderator, Synod of WA Uniting Church in Australia