Rev Dr Tess Kuin Lawton, Chaplain of Magdalen College School

IT’S 2016. How did that happen? I was only just beginning to get used to 2015.

The Greek god Janus, with one head looking back over his shoulder and one looking forward to the life to come, is still an accurate metaphor for this time of year.

Christmas is a nostalgic time, fittingly so. We take time to sit and write cards to old friends, look up names of their children and remind ourselves of their lives. We sing carols written deep into the memory of our hearts and are transported back to our own childhoods.

So, at this time of year, we gather up into one all our reflections and wonderings and put them to good use in the shape of New Year’s resolutions.

“I really will go and visit those old friends instead of just forming an ephemeral hope into words in a card”. “This is the year I will get fit and face the doctor’s health test with confidence”. Or perhaps “I resolve to take the health of my spiritual life as seriously as my heartbeat and bank balance".

Why do we only go to church at Christmas? What is the draw?

Is it the soft lighting on the architecture and the familiar words? What would be so weird about going on any other Sunday?

This time of year is one where we can draw on a season of joy and wonder, of reflection and nostalgia and determine to shape our lives in directions which will allow us to flourish. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about humans who did not simply live their lives but who ‘flourished’.

What would it take for you to flourish, I wonder? Can you see your visits to friends, your new health drive in these terms?

Jesus said: “I have come that you may have life; life in all its fullness.” What would that mean for you?

I believe that we are hard-wired for God but the white noise of the everyday is drowning out his voice. You can’t stand on the scales and register the emptiness of the soul; but if you pay attention, you can hear it.

So, this New Year may be a time to walk into that Church rather than walking past it; time to find a quiet corner to pray.