According to an opinion poll that was published recently in the press, we stop to think January 20 is supposedly recognised as being the most gloomy, depressing day of the whole year! Before you all reach for your diaries to see what you were doing on that day, let's consider why this may merit a mention at all remembering that subjective opinion will always he just that.
However, it's interesting to consider why January is a difficult time of year. Post-Christmas blues; the grip of winter with the threat of disruption due to bad weather remains; various flu viruses whirl around; dark mornings and evenings deprive us of sunshine; bills and tax returns are outstanding.....and so on.
Add to this the uncertainty about the overall economy, the raised security warning status and we can see why many people have an aversion to January and a day in the third week of January seems then a likely choice to settle on.
I would like to offer the other side of the above coin.
'Bless my Soul! And bless the Lord, my Soul!'
Blessings are received and felt in many and various ways and impossible to define. There are the more obvious blessings of family, friends, having food to eat and a roof over our heads, but if we stop to think, we are blessed by just being a part of God's wonderful creation.
I believe in the sanctity of human life and the whole of God's created order speaks to me of his eternal blessing. Our lives are enriched by recognising God at work in the world.
The rhythm of the seasons teach us that there is order and purpose to life on earth. God's blessings are reflected by those daily acts of kindness and compassion that we offer to each other. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our faith in God and when we follow this law of love then we are blessed.
Jesus said, 'I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life (blessings) so that you may live,' We make this choice, knowing that our own words can bring blessings to others and equally our words can hurt and bring curses too. The choice is ever before us.
A positive attitude always helps and if we rely on God's grace then we can count our blessings. Sunday is a time when blessings abound. For many it's a free day, a lie-in, time for family and friends, shopping, recreation, a country walk, a pub lunch or a roast dinner. But above all the time when we gather in fellowship with thanksgiving to our blessings we receive.
Bless the Lord my soul and bless his holy name,
Bless the Lord my soul, who leads us into life (Taizé chant)
Enjoy the signs of spring - the snowdrops are already breaking through the cold ground.