January 2022

January 2022 sounds like one of those dates that used to intrigue us as children in the 1950s and 60s, the date when we would all feed on pills purchased from sky-based hypermarkets to which customers would zoom in their jet cars whilst planning their inter-galactic holidays etc etc etc.

Well not everyone can do that but thanks to Amazon and Mr Musk I suppose we’re part-way there but the fact is that as I write this, January 2022 is just around the corner and God willing we shall see it for ourselves in a short while (or if you’re reading this next week you’re already in it)!

I suppose many of us will be glad to see the back of 2021 but surely recent experience teaches us that we don’t know what will be round the next corner. At Christmas 1939 King George VI concluded his broadcast to the Empire with words from the poem ‘God Knows’ by Minnie Louise Haskins who had written it in 1909:

“And 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 than light – and safer than a known way.”

The historian in me says that as the Empire said good-bye to 1939 they probably thought good riddance to that awful year (little did they know!) – but they may also have remembered so much of what had been achieved and was positive during those dark closing months of the year. People had found a new sense of togetherness – they were prepared for any sacrifice – strangers became friends and neighbours – and individuals came to realize that they were important individual parts of society.

Minnie Louise Haskins belonged to the Wesleyan tradition and had spent some years as a lay missionary in India.  Her poem is a prayer full of Christian faith and hope and confidence – and inspired King George VI to inspire his people with those three virtues as he concluded his Christmas message in a world at war.

To-day we stand at the beginning of another year and the striking parallel with 1939 continues with the current situation of ongoing covid battles on a worldwide scale. As we look anxiously to the horizon for signs of deliverance from the amazing vaccines – we pray for our front-line workers and give thanks for the fruit of the dedicated work of our researchers this far. 

But most of all we put ourselves in God’s hands. Lucy Booth was the eighth and youngest child of William and Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army. She too worked as a missionary in India and, at the same time as Haskins, wrote

Keep on believing, Jesus is near,

Keep on believing, there’s nothing to fear;

Keep on believing, this is the way,

Faith in the night, as well as the day.

Happy New Year. Keep on believing!


Colin Dixon

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