How are your new year’s resolutions going? According to latest polls by the middle – end of January most of us seem to have called it a day and slowly, despite our best efforts we’re back to square one before we realise it. I suppose that if we have any hope of keeping those well intended resolutions, we need something nearing an iron will and often it’s just not there. I have every admiration for those who do succeed, most, so we are told, who get their family and friends around them to encourage and support or who join one of the many support groups which keep us in line, especially when we are counting the calories or giving up something that we know is not good for our health. That’s good strategy because there is, after all, more strength in numbers.
It’s the same when it comes to faith. We may be resolved to follow the Christian way of life but it’s never easy when we don’t have the support and help of others. When our faith is flagging or the ups and downs of life take their toll we need the friendship, love and support of those who will get along side and give us the confidence that we are not alone. The early church was marked by a strong sense of fellowship and care, especially for those in need, so much so that people outside were often amazed and declared ‘See how these Christians love one other’ The church has many faults because it is made up of imperfect people, yet those who always help and support each other as they seek to follow the example of Jesus and live out his love in their lives.
This Christmas churches and chapels will have welcomed many visitors and friends who came along to sing the carols and to take in the atmosphere which is uniquely Christmas. Having sung the songs and heard again the familiar story of the shepherds and wise men what better resolution at the beginning of a new year than to return again and to become part of a community of faith where together we support each other and learn more of the Christ whose ways gentleness and peace bring hope to our dark and often frightening world. The Apostle Paul declared that he was ‘resolved’ to learn more of Jesus – and that’s the best resolution of all!