Bishop of Hull Alison White writes:

Opening the Door

2021 will be a different kind of year in lots of ways.

It has crept up on us rather more quietly, without the usual celebrations, and hardly a party popper to be heard. But this year still comes to us as a gift and an invitation as we take a deep breath and step over the threshold.

There is a good northern tradition of ‘first-footing’: the first person to enter a home on New Year’s Day comes bringing gifts and a blessing (God’s perspective on coal and good luck!) I guess that won’t have been possible for many households this time, unless the visitor was in their bubble! But at the start of this year we welcome again and afresh the One who can come close to us all, who stands at the door and knocks and wants to be let in – whatever the state of our home.

There isn’t a day or a place where we don’t need Christ’s presence – we aren’t created to go it alone. But for me there are moments when I especially need to be conscious of Jesus who has made his home with us, come what may. Looking into this year, which is so full of unknowns, I want to open the door again and let him be always the first one to come to be with us.

Undoubtedly we will be facing some huge challenges in the months ahead, as a nation, as churches and for us personally. The temptation will be to shut the door against them and simply try to keep ourselves safe.

If it is true that Jesus is with us, then we can go into this new year in a different way. We can open the door and walk out towards all the possibilities as well as the challenges.

Because Christ is with us, Emmanuel, we become people who can bring gifts and blessing – if we are up for that.

+ Alison Hullen