As the clock turns from 11.59 to midnight on 31st December, partying and singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, marks the turn from 2022 to 2023. A New Year – and with that come New Year Resolutions.

Over the years I have made many of these – lose weight, do more exercise, learn a new language, clean regularly… Few of them made it beyond the end of 2nd January, at which my new beginnings retreated to my old ways. I wonder if you have more success with the resolutions you make?

Resolutions are intended to help us change the way things are – whether that’s to do with lifestyle, appearance, or achievement. But maybe there is a different way to approach changing the way things are. The Old Testament tells us that God’s people became fixated with offerings and festivals. But through the prophet Micah God challenged them with a new way of changing things. To paraphrase, God tells them ‘It’s the way you are and how you treat others that changes things. Act with justice, love kindness and walk with God.’ (Micah 6:8)

And Jesus said something similar to his disciples. ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ (John 15:12). Love, for those we don’t know as well as those we do, changes everything. When we seek justice, show kindness and love others, we make a difference – a difference to the world but also a difference to ourselves. We become less self-focused and instead look to how we can focus on our community, our nation, and the world.

A year ago, we had no idea how much change there would be in our world – a war in Europe, many Prime Ministers, a financial crisis. It feels that as we walk into 2023 life is fragile. But love is strong. The love of God for us does not waver or change. Let’s resolve to show something of that love to others, both friend and stranger, so that we can make a difference in the world in which we love. Whatever 2023 holds for you, may it be a year in which you know and show love.

Reverend Mary Hawes