2018 was a bit baffling: untimely deaths, political muddles, increased homelessness… And you can add your own bewildering moments to the list. Jesus, whom we remember at Christmas as the Saviour and Prince of Peace, had many other names. Thank God that he is also the Wonderful Counsellor. Don’t we all need counselling to negotiate life’s dark alleys and bewildering mazes?

I lost a wise counsellor when my dad died a couple of months ago. He had reflected – though in the inevitably less than perfect human form – the wise counsel of the Wonderful Counsellor. While I mourn the loss of my dad, I still have Jesus, the Wonderful Counsellor, who is all wisdom, totally dependable, and always there. How do I know that? Because another of Jesus’ names is Emmanuel: God is with us. My human dad is now in the company of the Everlasting Father, but Jesus – the divine companion – is with me.

As we walk into 2019, with all its uncertainty, our confidence is not in humans with our fallible bluster and blunders, but in God. He came to earth, was down to earth, and is the same yesterday, today and forever. Minnie Louise Haskins shows us how to approach any new year:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”

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