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By Rev. Aidan Armstrong

January 1 2023 will mark the start of a new and fresh year on the secular calendar.

We will have just celebrated the great feast of Christmas with all its liturgies, feasting and festivities. Many of us will have taken some down time after this great feast to reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to the year to come.

Some of us will look forward to the new year with great anticipation and expectation - a fresh start to do or try something new.  A new chapter yet unwritten. Some of us will await the new year with great trepidation as we may know of some challenges that we are likely to face. Some of us may not mark this passage of time at all- simply continuing on in our lives with the good and the bad, the challenges and the joys.

Whatever you may find yourself thinking about the new year, one thing is certain it will come at the stroke of midnight on January 1st. Whatever plans or resolutions we may have, whatever challenges we anticipate, whether we are excited or not, the reality is no one knows what the year ahead will bring for them or those whom they love.

The other reality we know to be true is that in whatever joys or challenges we may face in the year ahead God will be with us. After all we just celebrated Christmas where we celebrated the incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us, this year, next year and into eternity!

who inhabitest eternity,
and hast brought thy servants
to the beginning of another year:
Pardon, we humbly beseech thee,
our transgressions in the past,
bless to us this New Year,
and graciously abide with us
all the days of our life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— A Prayer for the New Year Book of Common Prayer Page 115 

Rev. Aidan Armstrong is an AFP executive and the rector of St. George's, London.