Letter from the Vicar

January 2022

I had really hoped to be able to start this month’s letter with a confident and resounding Happy New Year!  However, I suspect that happy seems a bit generous at the moment, or just rather glib. I suspect many of us are not happy about the ongoing Covid situation and are actually finding the transition into this new year rather difficult.  I don’t think any of us could have expected that we would be starting another new year with this level of uncertainty.

So I think I would like to wish everyone, instead, joy for this coming year.  Joy, it seems to me is different to mere happiness.  The bible tells us to rejoice always, and so joy has to be something more nuanced and more profound than being happy – which no-one can really be all the time I don’t think!  I recently tried to explain joy to some year 1 pupils and found myself saying that ‘Joy is something deep down inside you that knows that there is good news even when everything feels sad or difficult’.  So I am going to go with that!

Just a few days ago we celebrated Christmas and, once again, I was reminded of the nativity story being a tale of a family, in a complex and unsettled society, facing uncertainty – not so different to each of us.  But it is also a tale of joy – the joy of a baby, the joy of God himself with us even in the difficult and painful, the joy that really is about the good news!

One of the things about the Covid pandemic that I have observed is that people have noticed in new ways, the good things, the often small treasures, as so much of what we have experienced has been difficult and uncertain.  Much of what we perhaps previously took for granted has been appreciated in a new way.  We have noticed and named the joy!

And so as we head into another year still unsure what this pandemic is going to do, unsure of what lies ahead, l hope and pray that you will experience some genuinely happy times, but more than that, that we will each experience true joy.  Maybe we each need to keep a ‘joy journal’, noting those moments of good news, those treasures that often get lost.  Have a joy filled 2022!