Fireworks and sparkles…

Happy New Year!

Am I the only one for whom that doesn’t necessarily trip easily off the tongue?

Last night, New Years Eve, we watched the London fireworks on the TV.  Beautiful, dazzling, spectacular.  And like most of the people watching, we said a silent prayer – for a dazzling, sparkling 2015.

And yet, not 24 hours later, I wonder what’s so sparkling and dazzling about it all.

Why do we spend millions of pounds on explosions whilst Ebola ravages West Africa?  Why do we get excited about the change of digit at the end of the year?  What is it about this arbitrary line that fills us with resolution and hope and expectation?

Now, I appreciate I probably sound particularly “Bah, Humbug!” right now.  But reflecting on 2014 has been quite hard and painful.  The highs have been incredible.  I had no idea, this time last year, that the simple act of kindness by my not-quite-three-year-old would snowball into a Kindness Movement spanning the globe.  I didn’t know I’d make one of my closest friends, and acheive challenges in guiding that I’m extremely proud of.  I didn’t know I’d be a finalist in a blogging award, or find the courage to share some really difficult things, and feel the pride in that. Lots of real blessings this year.

But I also didn’t know about the lows.  Miscarriage.  Grief.  Ill health. The death of people I hold – held – more dearly than most.  The issues I won’t even mention that have served like a refiners fire.  Eventually, they’ve created something beautiful, but the process has been agonising and hard, and left me, at the start of a New Year, feeling battered and bruised and decidedly sceptical.  I realised last year that on New Years day, I was writing in my prayer journal and crying to (well, swearing at) God over something incredibly painful and precious to me – and this year, I’ve done exactly the same thing, over exactly the same issue.

Hardly a neat and tidy “God’s my best friend” testimony of the year.

So, I’m going to be honest.  I face this year with trepidation, and with nervousness.  I face it, very well aware that there will be challenges and pitfalls and difficulties, and that I’m going to feel like giving up at some point.

But I face it with hope too.  Not the unrealistic, it’s all going to be fantastic hope.  I’m not resolving to lose 8 stone, solve the Middle East crisis and cure Ebola – all before Jan 15th. I have trouble resolving which knickers to wear some days, so I think I’ll leave the more complicated ones alone.

It’s the hope that endures – the hope that knows He’s in it with me.  Emmanuel Hope.  Ultimately, I guess, the hope that comes from being utterly and truly loved.  Knowing that whatever happens this year, I’m held.  Known.  Cherished.

Maybe “Happy New Year” doesn’t come so easily.  But I do pray for myself, and for all those I love, an Emmanuel New Year.  You are known, you are loved.  You are chesrished, and You Are Not Alone.

Hope for the sparkles, if you’re into that.  Enjoy each and every fabulous moment that occurs this year.  But when the lows come, and come they will, know this.

He’s got you.

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