Dear Friends,

During these early days of the 2024 I have been reflecting on some words from a much-loved hymn. It’s a favourite of mine which we sing regularly—as often at weddings as we do at funerals.

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,

whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,

be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,

your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

The hymn is a simple prayer which recognises our dependence on God at every time of day and in every season of our lives. It asks God to be present with us as we go about our everyday tasks at work and at home.

I have been thinking about the opening line, especially those words ‘hopefulness’ and ‘joy’. We can all recognise that joy and hope are often in short supply in our world. Perhaps they are also lacking in your own life, or in the lives of those dearest to you for any number of good reasons. Joy and hope can seem like things we might only glimpse in passing—if we are fortunate enough.

Yet this hymn reminds us that hope and joy are not just qualities which are part of God, there are all of God. God is allhopefulness and all joy. It is through his presence in our lives that we find bliss and peace in our hearts.

May God be present with you and those you love at the beginning of this New Year, and may you continue to know his loving, hopeful, joyful presence through every day and every season.

Yours in Christ,

Dr Rev’d Ian Mills