I don't think we have ever, during my lifetime, faced the prospect of a new year in our country withÂ as much sense of uncertainty, fearfulness and disagreement as we do at this start to 2019.Â
The arguments of Brexit seem to stand over everything else, with paralysis and division atÂ Westminster spilling out into nervousness in communities and families, as we look ahead withÂ uncertainty as to what Brexit will really entail when it arrives in less than three months.
Often at new year, I find myself reflecting on a very well-known poem, written by Minnie LouiseÂ Haskins, and its words seem especially relevant this year:
'˜I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
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'˜Give me a light that I may tread safely into theÂ unknown.
'˜And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
'That shall be toÂ you better than light and safer than a known way'.'
This poem first caught the public attention and the popular imagination when King George VI quotedÂ it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast, in the dark early months of the Second World War.
It is known as The Gate of the Year, but I was intrigued to discover that the title given to it by theÂ author was in fact God Knows.
I find it a helpful thought as we face the start of 2019, with all of its uncertainties, not justÂ about Brexit, but also about everything else this new year will hold in store for you, for your family,Â your workplace and your community.
God KnowsÂ what the future holds for us, because God is the one who holds the future, and GodÂ promises to hold onto us, whatever that future may be.
And so, as we start 2019 together with those around us, may we know the security, the light and theÂ guidance that God offers to us.
And may we know the security and strength of walking alongside oneÂ another, as communities come together in uncertain times, helping one another forward, andÂ together finding a light to guide us along dark paths.
With every blessing to you at the start of this new year.