Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
‘The Lord is my Shepherd’
‘Even if I go through the deepest darkness I will not be afraid, for You are with me. Your Shepherd’s rod and staff protect me’ (Psalm 23 Good News Bible).
The Psalmist certainly knew tough and challenging times.
He, like many people today, had first-hand experience of finding God’s loving care and protection provided just at the right time, often in surprising ways. While the ways of the shepherding seem far removed from our lifestyles, we do know about ‘deepest darkness’, isolation, illness, bereavement, helplessness, uncertainty of jobs and finances, of schooling, problems with relationships, mental health and so much more.
Now, further restrictions bring thwarted plans, dashed hopes, confusion and unexpected change.
Christmas this year has been different and New Year celebrations are being swept away.
Is there anything of hope and comfort; anything to learn about wholesome living in this experience?
The real meaning of Christmas and of new beginnings with God, remains unchanged, despite the challenges of our present social, commercial and political circumstances.
Two millennia ago, angels spoke to bewildered shepherds, bringing the message of not fearing, and of God’s love for all people.
They heard the Good News that God was coming in Jesus, to be among people, to be with them in every human predicament. Jesus comes to share every experience, being helper, comforter, guide through the unknown, and the light for each day’s journey.
With this truth in our hearts, we can step out into 2021 without fear, affirming the Psalmists words, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I will not be afraid, for You are with me’.
We face the future with hope, if we see God’s life and care around us, if we recognise the fingerprints of His love in the huge things, like the wonder of medical science; in the development of tests and vaccines, in the small everyday surprises, in the opportunities to bring support, listening time and care to others, and in finding our needs supplied.
We can know that God of new beginnings is with us. We can accept His offered gifts of peace and hope for our living.
Reverend Carol Leech