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Thursday 1 January – standing at the portal

Thursday 1 January – standing at the portal
January 2, 2015 Linda Crossley
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If ever a photo was to illustrate the contrast between old and new, a thought uppermost in my mind today, it is surely this one.  My very battered copy of the 1933 Methodist Hymn Book will be 58 later this month, and I just a few years older.  My copy of Singing the Faith still looks remarkably pristine, even after 3 years of use and extensive travelling.

I hope you do not feel too battered by the year that has passed, though as Moira Sleight, Editor of the Methodist Recorder, says in her New Year message in the current issue, everyone will have known a mixture of “deep joys and great sadnesses….. successes and failures….. hopes and disappointments.”  I tend to feel optimistic at the promise of a new year, yet for others, in different circumstances, this can still be a time of anxiety, sadness or fear.  The hymn from the MHB which always comes to my mind at this time of year is “Standing at the portal of the opening year”.  Maybe it was the first time the little girl I was, when I received this birthday present, learnt the meaning of the word portal?  Maybe the specialness of a hymn which can only be sung once a year? Whatever the reason, this hymn has stayed with me.

Re-reading it tonight, the final verse struck me as one we can all read and mean, giving us encouragement to move into the new year, despite the challenges and difficulties it may bring.  May you all know that “He will never fail us, He will not forsake; His eternal covenant He will never break! Resting on his promise, What have we to fear? God is all-sufficient For the coming year.”  With every blessing to you all for 2015, Linda