A View From The Vicarage - January 2019

Dear Friends

“Follow The Star”

I wonder whether you’ve made your New Year’s Resolutions yet?  It seems that for a great many people January is largely occupied in deciding not to replicate the mistakes of the past and resolving to lead better lives in the future.  The great shame of too many New Year’s Resolutions it seems to me is that the greater majority of them fail to carry us through as far as the beginning of February!  Whatever happens, I’m reasonably confident that the greater majority of us will probably have entirely forgotten what those resolutions we made with such enthusiasm at the turning of the year were by the beginning of March!

It seems to me that 2019 begins with a greater sense of despondency, national introspection and political melodrama than any year that I can remember.

But let’s not forget that like a bright shining jewel January 6th so early on in the new year is the feast of the Epiphany – the moment when we recall the visit of the wise men to the infant Christ.  The name Epiphany means manifestation and the Epiphany celebrates the first occasion when people other than Christ’s own fellow countrymen and women witness the infant Son of God. Those mysterious figures from the East are thus the first gentiles or non Jews to witness the infant Christ.  Their journey from their own homeland to Bethlehem must have been long and arduous, there must have been multiple occasions when it must have seemed futile and yet always ahead of them goading them on was the bright star, promising so much and yet for so long just out of reach.

For many the future destiny of this country must feel like that journey of the magi.  For some the bright star might seem like an unattainable dream, a mirage which would collapse when touched.  For others the idea of simply giving up and returning to the old certainties of home must, on occasion have been overwhelmingly appealing. 

For all of them, however, the goal of the journey, however, surprising it may have been was none the less transformative.  They’d found what they’d travelled so far to see;  probably about as unlike what they’d been expecting as is possible.

Whichever our national future is;  we can do no worse than follow the Magi’s example and keep onwards into the future and above all trust in God to keep all of us and our nation on the level path to whatever and wherever it’s future may be.  Or to use words from Minnie Haskins, quoted by King George VI in his Christmas Broadcast 1939: 

“I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year

 ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown’

And he replied,

“Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.  That shall be better to you than light and safer than a known way.”

That’s the most useful new year’s resolution I can think of.  Happy New Year


With my love and prayers as always


Ben Griffith