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February 2020

Glimpses of spring light

January is a time of year for promises and resolutions. February is perhaps a month for reckoning – asking ourselves why we’re already slipping back on those commitments. This cold, hard month can be a bit of a reality check.

However, when the lights no longer go on at 4.30pm, we know spring is on its way. We find things to look forward to – holidays, things to do when the weather improves. These simple plans show how important it is to look forward to better times, to live in hope that good things are on their way.

This is what the church year is doing right now. Christmas is an explosion of light, colour and sound and, even though decorations get put away early in January, the song of the angels keeps ringing in our ears – good news for all. The message is simple and clear – God has come among us, and remains with us.

Hope lives on, long after the recycling lorry has carted away the Christmas wrapping paper. The stories of Epiphany are full of signs and wonders – stories such as the time Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana, and the moment when Jesus is himself baptised as an adult by his cousin John. When Jesus bursts out of the river water the sky above him is filled with God’s blessings, for him and for us all.

Yes, Lent is coming, a time of quiet, reflection, sometimes sadness. But even now in these dark days of winter we can see the light of Easter in every early glimpse of spring flowers magically appearing in foggy lanes.

Light in darkness – an idea as old as time, and yet a reminder that we live in a world where goodness prevails.

That isn’t just an uplifting message. There is some science behind it. The Gottman Institute has studied relationships for 50 years, discovering that people are generally happy if they have five times more positive experiences than negative ones. In passing, this research suggests that in general people are content with life, because on balance more good things happen than bad things. We are perhaps more generous, caring, helpful people than the daily news would suggest.

If that glimpse of hope isn’t enough to cheer the winter blues, what is?

Revd Preb John Lees, Associate Priest

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