Latest Rector’s Letter

Blue Monday.

With December’s strains of ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ rapidly fading, our experience of entering January can be something of a shock to the system and considerably less than wonderful!
They call it Blue Monday – it reputedly falls on the second or third Monday of January each year. According to the popular press, it is the most depressing day of the year. So be warned! Taking the blame for our plunging national mood are the expenses of Christmas, the early failure of our New Year’s resolutions, a return to work after the
holidays and the fact that we still have to face the worst of the winter weather.
Whilst much that has been published on the matter can be dismissed as pseudo-scientific nonsense, there is still genuine evidence that January is one of the most difficult months of the year: Personal debt, divorce proceedings and even the use of negative language in tweets can all be shown to reach their statistical peak in mid-January.
Look up ‘New Year’ in the Bible and you will be directed to readings that describe the Jewish Festival of Rosh Hashanah. Admittedly it falls at a different time of year (September or October), but it also has a different sort of character. The Biblical New Year is still noisy, though it is marked by the sound of trumpets rather than fireworks or party poppers.
Typical Rosh Hashanah food for a Jewish family might include apples dipped in honey, to symbolise the hope that the Year ahead will be ‘fruitful’ and ‘sweet’ . . . But the main thrust of the biblical festival looks backwards before it looks forwards. And there are a number of rituals that symbolise the casting away of sins and burdens.
It can be difficult to face the future until you have let the past become the past. 2018 doesn’t stand much chance of being a ‘happy new year’ unless the troubles and trials of 2017 are consciously left behind and commended into the hands of God.
It may feel rather late in the month, but there is still time to cast away the accrued disasters and disappointments of last year. And when that is all done, let us genuinely trust in God for a New Year that is indeed ‘fruitful and sweet’.

Jeff Cuttell