NEW YEAR MESSAGE: Let’s reach out to more people in coming year

Creation of the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales. Bishop of Huddersfield Jonathan Gibbs at Halifax Minster.
Creation of the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales. Bishop of Huddersfield Jonathan Gibbs at Halifax Minster.

The Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, looks ahead to the coming 12 months and offers some Christian advice as we head into 2018.

No-one knows quite what a New Year will bring.

For some of us the prospect is one of hope and anticipation, with maybe a new job on the horizon or a new baby on the way.

Others face the future with fear and anxiety, perhaps over health concerns or impending retirement.

One of the biggest fears that we face at the moment is the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

We don’t know what this will bring but we hope the politicians can pull off a good deal both for the people of this country and for citizens of other nations in Europe.

And then there are fears about what is going on in the wider world and how this may affect us here in the UK, especially in regard to terrorism and extremism of one kind or another.

At the start of the New Year, the Christian faith challenges us in two main ways.

Firstly, it reminds us that God is bigger than our fears and that lifting our eyes to him can help prevent fear from taking a grip over our lives, whether it’s to do with an illness or what’s happening in the wider world.

And secondly, God calls us to love one another even when we are feeling anxious.

We can’t put everything right in our world, but we can reach out to other people in our communities, especially to those who have different backgrounds or views to us.

And as we build relationships with them we can start to create a better, safer world right here on our doorsteps.

At the start of this New Year, why not put one hand in the hand of God, and hold out the other to someone we don’t yet know, someone different to us, who might then become our friend?