THE last time I wrote in Faith Viewpoint, I told a story.

I love stories, in fact, I think we all do. Gossiping about soaps is a national pastime.

Stories slip under our defences and speak to us about the world, and our place within it.

Having just celebrated Christmas, I took the opportunity to once again think on the story of Christmas. That story, which is wonderful for children, but which challenges us all; for the baby grew up to change the world. Now there is a story.

As we are just about still in the Christmas season, we can think on the story of the events after the birth.

The joy of the Magi bringing gifts - but that was years after the birth.

Problems too - threat from the king to kill the Christ-child before he could disrupt his reign, a flight to a far country as refugees - despite tabloid fear-mongering, refugees can be a blessing - before a return to their homeland. Yet, through it all, God was with him.

And we face a new year. A year of change and challenge, hope and promise.

A year, I pray, of joy but a year when there will be many problems for us to face.

Violence and killing, refugees and disasters.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in which I am proud to serve, said on his death-bed “The best of all is God is with us”.

May he go with you into the New year.

Blessings to you all.

Graham Ransom

Superintendent Methodist Minister

South Lakes Circuit