What does the New Year look like for you? I always feel New Year’s Eve creeps up on me, given the fact that Christmas is such a busy time.

But for many people New Year is big. Celebrations are much bigger than Christmas. Churches in places like Africa, the Pacific and Asia are packed for watchnight services while the streets of major cities around the world are crammed with revellers, whether it be Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Times Square in New York or Circular Quay here in Sydney.

With these celebrations come many traditions. My mother’s family used to open the front door at the stroke of midnight to let the old year out and to let the new year in. In Ireland people bang bread against the wall to chase the bad spirits of the old year away while the Chinese, when they celebrate the New Year later in February, paint their doors red, the colour of good luck.

Such activities point to the hope for a new year that brings health, wealth and happiness. These are the things we long for. We constantly expect things will get better.

But we really do not know what’s around the corner. I am moving close to my retirement date. And when people ask me about my plans, I am, honestly not quite sure. One thing is for certain, I will continue to engage in ministry in some way or another.

What do you have in store for 2019? Perhaps your plans are clearly laid out? Perhaps they are not? Perhaps the future looks a little hazy, even uncertain?

West Epping is facing a different kind of year as a new minister is sought to replace me and as your part-time supply minister, takes the helm from February.

Whatever 2019 has in store, remember, we do not journey alone. The truth of the matter is that this is God’s world. We are gifted with the immense privilege of being part of it.

And that means we need to listen to God, we need to trust God and we need to journey with God, wherever God takes us!

Blessings to you in 2019!

Rev John Barr