In recent years I’ve heard people talking about the January blues. The idea is that, after the build up and excitement of Christmas, January is a bit of a let-down. People feel deflated, perhaps even depressed. With the amount of money that can be spent over the Christmas period, financial difficulties might make January more ‘blue.’ And after the amount of food some of us will probably have eaten, January is often the time when we start thinking about the effort it will take to get back into whatever shape we used to, or wanted to, be. And part way through January, the good intentions of our New Year’s Resolutions might already be a memory!
But so far, I haven’t really experienced this. January has seemed hopeful. January had things to look forward to. For many years, January was the month when I and a large number of other bellringers had our annual meal: a good excuse to dress up and have a nice evening with friends, having done some good ringing earlier in the day. For a few years, January also saw a bellringing outing to London, which was always a highlight of the calendar. I look forward to February each year, as it sees a holiday in Pembrokeshire; and January is that time when I can get ready for this, almost like the countdown to Christmas all over again.
And since the Church marks its new year at the beginning of Advent, I’ve usually broken my resolutions before we reach the New Year of January 1st, so I don’t have the pressure of sticking to them throughout January!
But I do realise that January can be a dark, cold, and perhaps lean month. It isn’t always easy. I can only say that I will be trying to combat those January blues by making sure that I have things to look forward to. Perhaps things during the month, or perhaps things in February that I can count down to. If, like me, you need a replacement resolution early in January when your first one hasn’t worked out, perhaps we could do worse than to resolve to give ourselves little things to look forward to: coffee and/or a walk with friends; a trip somewhere you don’t normally go; some time spent on a hobby that you haven’t had much time for recently. Whatever you do to make you smile this month, I wish you a very happy new year!
Revd Richard Turk