It’s to state the obvious that 2020 will be a year to remember and one we’d all rather forget.
A year ago most of us had never heard of Covid-19.
Social distancing, Zoom and PPE, if mentioned at all, meant something different from what they mean today.
Things are different now though; we understand what all these words and phrases mean and our use of them is, to use that 2020 word, unprecedented.
Seriously though, with 68,000 deaths, the NHS, our education system and many aspects of our economy groaning under the pressure of the impact of Covid-19, we might well wonder if there is anything to look forward to. Where is our hope?
Whilst so much of what we all take for granted has been lost during this year, there is much that we can be thankful for.
The generosity and kindness of thousands of people across the Borough of Bolton in supporting others in need, in putting their own lives at risk to care for those who are poorly, and in looking at new ways in which we can hold communities together – all of these have been truly inspirational.
Just as Covid-19 is no respecter of faith, age, gender etc., so too, people of all faiths and none, of all ages, and from every part of the Bolton Family have striven to care for each other and that’s something very important and special.
For Christians, Christmas marks that time when God made himself known to the world through the birth of his Son Jesus Christ.
The teachings of Jesus brought many things, amongst them, hope for a better future, and it’s that hope that I pray we will take with us into 2021. As this year has shown, we have no idea what the future holds but we can be thankful that whatever shape it takes, there is that genuine desire in Bolton to give of our best in caring for each other.
With very best wishes for a happy and peaceful Christmas.
Revd Canon Dr Chris Bracegirdle