I've been asked to do a bunch of letters for the parish newsletter for February, and I thought I'd stick them here as well. Should be fairly safe, as no one reads this. ;o)
Here's the first, written for the first Sunday in February:
It's the end of January and already the year seems off to a rather shaky start. I hear from colleagues at the university, friends and family about personal and, sometimes, tragic losses experienced in the post-Christmas period. Students are struggling with post-Christmas homesickness, dwindling student loans, assignment deadlines and exams. Then there are the news headlines, about a potential recession, not to mention 'wars and rumours of wars'.
A recent article in the Guardian mentioned that Thursday last week (January 24) was apparently the most depressing day of the year. This was calculated by Cliff Arnall of
, using an elaborate scientific formula. Cardiff University
So if you're feeling a little off-colour after Christmas, it's nice to know that at least it's perfectly natural, so we don't have to add guilt to all of the above.
But what can we do about it? It's good to remind ourselves about what we do have … homes, families, friends, food, life. Look for the signs of spring and new life … the earlier sunrises and later sunsets, the flowers in the lawn, the buds on the trees. Find and encourage the positive in others, especially our nearest and dearest … say something positive, do something for them, pamper each other a little, book a meal out or cook a meal in, watch a film together, enjoy a lazy cup of coffee together in the afternoon sun or perhaps plan a day out together.
And, remember, too, in the words of our Psalm this Sunday "The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory" … our God is loving, welcoming, unchanging, victorious, accessible, forgiving and eternal.