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Change is coming!

Dear Friends

By the time you read this, Christmas 2019 is but a distant memory. Was it a good one or a bad one? At this time we all hark back to ‘The First Christmas’, but in reality for all of us it is always a first Christmas – the first one in a new home, the first one with a new babyor a new person at the table, or, sadly, the first one with an empty chair.

It is a time of nostalgia, when we look back, hopefully with fondness, to Christmases of the past, and try to infuse the Christmas of the present with their spirit and joy.

Then before we know it, it is New Year and nostalgia changes to a feeling of optimism (that is if you ignore the thought of ‘another year older’…) The celebrations mainly seem to be by the young, with their boundless optimism about starting over and that things will change for the better.

But New Year is for all of us. The birth of Jesus taught us that things can change, but He did not promise that it would be easy.

This year new people will come into our lives and there will be happy events to celebrate whilst others will leave us forever and diminish us with their loss. There may be new jobs and challenges for some and retirement and new things to do for others.

In Cheltenham perhaps we can hope for a new Minister – that would make it a very good new year for us.

To make a better world this year we have to be even more aware of our actions – if we don’t sort out climate change then there will be no future generations to hand Christmas traditions on to. For some, devastated by war or natural disaster, these celebrations mean nothing, just another day in the relentless grind to stay alive. It is time for the nations to see how selfish they are.

Our own country needs mending too – Brexit has left many divisions, even between friends. Now is the time to be kinder to each other and to go forward into the future together.

In celebrating that new life born at Christmas so long ago we must take that spirit and ensure that we can have our own Happy New Year and good Christmases yet to come.

Fiona Hall

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