Have you ever read a book by starting off at the end and then working your way back to the beginning?
It can be a deeply unsatisfying experience.
A thriller where you know the end before you start into the plot can’t hope to generate the excitement or the tension of a story where you follow the twists and turns as they go through.
It can also be frustrating if you read a set of books or watch a series of films in the wrong order.
The first book or film is a lot less interesting if you’ve already seen the second or the third in the sequence.
Life is filled with endings and beginnings.
New year is a time when we tend to reflect on that more than at other periods.
Many of us will think back over the past year with its surprises, joys and disappointments and reflect on everything we know now which was unknown to us at this time last year.
And we can’t help wondering what opportunities and challenges the year ahead might bring.
The most gripping books and films are the ones where we aren’t quite sure what will happen next.
One of the things that makes next year, and every year, fresh and exciting is that we don’t know what surprises and changes lie ahead.
We don’t know what we’ll be looking back on with regret or pleasure in a year’s time.
However, there is one thing we do know, and about which we can be certain.
We do not face any of the new things a new year can bring on our own.
We have a God who knows us and loves us, who journeys with us, and who sees even the things that are hidden round the corner for us.
Jesus said: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The journey ahead may be unknown – but the travelling companion is a reliable friend.
Have a very happy and peaceful new year.