SHIRLEY MURPHY, chaplain to the Bishop of St Davids at The Diocese of St Davids, has penned this Christian message of hope for 2022.
Originally published on the pembrokeshire.online website, here is what The Rev Shirley Murphy has to say:
“Amazingly, it’s that time. A new year is approaching right on schedule – again. This is the time of year so many of us start making resolutions to change a certain area or multiple areas in our lives. Maybe we have some extra pounds to shed. We might be committed to changing a specific, harmful behaviour. New Year’s resolutions range from simple desires to seemingly fool proof plans for extensive life change. What we all have in common is the hope that something will change, and life will be different (and better) in the year ahead.
Every year, people ring in the New Year with goals to live differently on some level. However, a few short weeks later, many of these very same well-wishers end up discouraged and filled with shame and remorse over their failed attempts to make their resolutions come to pass. Who knows? This may be the second, third, fourth or 15th year someone has tried to “kick the habit”. After so many misguided attempts, why would they even want to try again?
We’re all looking forward to a better year, a year where our lives can become what they were again. With the vaccines, we’re starting to hope once more. We are dreaming of holding our family and friends and we see a light at the end of this viral tunnel.
But the pandemic is not over yet. We’re in the middle of surging infections worldwide, with a scary number of hospitalisations and deaths. It’s not a time to back down from this fight. It’s time to double down our guard to protect ourselves and each other. We can do it.
In 2021 we have learned to appreciate the small pleasures and joys of everyday life. We have learned how we can adapt, pivot and come up with new ways of connecting with each other. We have become more patient and learned how to better handle our impatience. We have realised the absolute importance of cultivating inner peace, especially when the world around us trembles.
But most importantly, we’ve learned to be even more grateful for the gift of life, especially in this time where more people around the world have died in the past 18 months. It’s staggering to consider the loss and grief that so many families are enduring. I am grateful that, so far, I’ve been spared this pain. My heart and soul reaches out to all those who have suffered this year. I want to hold them in my arms and comfort them.
On a global level, it has sometimes felt like the world is collapsing around us. We have seen refugees fleeing their countries in search of safe havens for their family and children; sadly many have lost their lives in this attempt. In public commentary and behaviour, we’ve seen an unfortunate rise in anti-“outsider” sentiment and blatant racism. Terrorist attacks continue to inspire fear and sorrow around the world, and our hearts have broken wide open upon seeing the ongoing atrocities and slaughter in war-torn Syria and Afghanistan. As this rollercoaster year now draws to a close, I don’t think we are alone in contemplating what it has all meant; musings on life, death, human nature, the future occupy our minds.
As I look forward to 2022, I think we should give thanks to the Lord for getting us through another year as we look forward to what He has for us up ahead and praise Him that He is faithful and worthy to be praised!
May the Lord bless you and your family with a blessed New Year!”