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Happy New Year?

Posted Saturday 16 January 2021

The usual conversation in early January involves the question, “Did you have a good Christmas?” and my usual reply is jolly and positive, happily sharing the highlights of my Christmas and New Year period. This year’s festivities, however, were very different, and my response was a clear “No”. It felt strange to say this out loud – a bit impolite even – but I feel that honesty and vulnerability are particularly important at the moment. Our Christmas was very odd: we were separated from our family, it was just the two of us sharing Christmas dinner, and although meeting with family on Zoom to unwrap presents and play a game together was wonderful, this fell far short of our normal experience of Christmas.

Prior to Christmas I had already found myself struggling to wish friends and family a Merry Christmas. Knowing that some were facing extremely challenging and sad circumstances, caused the usual cheery Christmas messages and greetings to feel somehow glib or inappropriate. So, I decided that I would focus on wishing people a Happy New Year, and arranged for most of my cards and presents to arrive after Christmas to celebrate the arrival of 2021 instead. It has been amazing what a positive response I have had from lots of people thanking me for my honesty and vulnerability and telling me that it enabled them to express their similar sentiments and struggles. The Covid crisis has affected everyone in different but mostly extremely challenging ways, not least for those who work in Healthcare. Hence, Christmas 2020 will be memorable, but it certainly won’t go down as one of my most enjoyable.

So, what about the New Year? Is it a Happy New Year? Certainly in the UK (and other nations) the start of 2021 has looked very bleak, with the number of cases of Covid sky-rocketing, causing the death toll to rise, and the health services stretched beyond measure. All that said, I am stirred by a confident hope that 2021 will indeed be a good year; thankfully we now have vaccines being distributed, and millions of people have already received at least their first dose. However, my hope is not based solely on this, but also on what God has been saying to me personally, what I am sensing in my Spirit, and what I have already seen God do in people’s lives during the first couple of weeks of January.

God spoke to me on 6th December during our Church’s morning meeting online, which was the first of our Live Streaming Sunday meetings at Eastgate. I had completely forgotten that it was seven years to the day that we had celebrated the official opening of the Eastgate building. My mind went immediately to the following passage in Exodus 23:10-11.

For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild beasts may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

The seventh year was a year of rest for the land to allow it to renew and refresh itself. The people were to rest from their labour, but there was special provision for the poor. God showed me that 2020 was effectively a fallow year for Eastgate, seemingly unproductive and yet all the while the soil was preparing itself for increased harvest. When did the 7th year end for Eastgate? On 6th December 2020. Undoubtedly when a fallow year was over it would have taken a while to get everything in place and ready to work once again, and it might have looked quite messy at first but a harvest was on the way. I think people would have managed this return to normal at different speeds and in different ways, maybe armed with some new ideas and discoveries that came about during “Lockdown/Fallow” period.

I have since reflected upon Christmas some more, and I come back to the basic truth – Jesus came to earth to be amongst us and this is the most important reality. Moreover I am very confident that we are entering into a Spiritual New Year; a time of greater fruitfulness and harvest, and a time of hope and rejoicing. I think the earthly reality of this will come at different speeds, but I also believe that we can hasten the process as we flow in the Spirit, taking spiritual responsibility for our nation, making sure that we “Arise and Shine”. The Healthcare needs in our world are enormous, so let’s join together in releasing the resources of heaven to supplement the amazing work that’s already taking place.

I’ll leave you with some exciting examples of life already springing up within Heaven in Healthcare at the beginning of 2021:

  • We have established a partnership with the Dream Revolution (DR) app which now has a dedicated Heaven in Healthcare section – do download it, it’s free!
  • Our ‘Dreaming with God for Healthcare’ series is now taking place, and and recordings are available after each session on the DR app – do join in or e-mail us here if you need more information.
  • Our website is being refreshed and exciting new content will be added over the coming weeks.
  • A new 14 part video conversation series will be coming soon – look out for it!
So, I confidently wish you a Happy New Year, because Jesus is still Emmanuel, God with us.

Pete Carter