We have crossed the threshold of a New Year. Very many people are happy to say “Good bye and good riddance” to 2020, and understandably so.

A new beginning calls for a newness of heart.

May we not carry into the days that lie before us the well-worn grudges, the heavy regrets, the fearful spirit that weight down the soul and dim our compassion. We leave the past, our own and others, to the timeless mercy of God.

What a gift it would be to ourselves at this time to replace fear with faith, to accept the dawning of divine light in the stillness of our hearts.

How often does the Lord tell us, “Be not afraid”, and now especially we need to hear those liberating words.

No one can know what this year holds but, in faith, we can know who holds this year. All times, all seasons belong to Christ – including 2021.

Whatever this coming time encloses for us, as a society and individuals – his Presence will be with us each day and his love a spring that will never runs dry.

The future is as hopeful as the faithfulness of God.

Such living faith does indeed give birth to hope, a hope that redefines life’s possibilities and “sees” beyond the darkness so we recognise the true riches that can be hidden even in the shadows of our lives.

May we allow the Spirit to fill the hollowed-out places of our hearts with such a hope.

The liturgy on New Year’s Day contains the blessing that Moses prayed over the people, a blessing beloved of Saint Francis.

As we set out into the unknown, we can make our own this ancient invocation, and pray it with utter confidence in the Lord who holds our days and our lives in his care.

O Lord, bless us and keep us. Let your face shine on us and be gracious to us. Reveal your face to us and bring us peace.