Over the holidays I had an opportunity to spend some time reading. I have always had a passion for Modern European History particularly the two World Wars. So, I spent some time looking through my father’s vast collection of books which I have inherited. As a Modern History Professor most of these are about European History.
One book that I read was titled “1940. Year of Legend. Year of History” by Laurence Thompson. As the title suggests it is a detailed account of the year 1940.
The first chapter describes the emotional state of the British people as 1939 ends and 1940 commences, with the phony war now in its fourth month there was a great deal of anxiety about what is to come. Expectations that the bombings of cities will commence, bitter fighting will continue and escalate, imminent invasion speculation, concerns over evacuations of children from major cities, fears of mass casualties, loved ones deployed away from home and coal and food shortages.
King George’s Christmas message to the British people and people of the then British Empire is now more critical than ever before to build hope and resilience.
So shortly after 3pm on Christmas day he broadcast his speech via the BBC. He states:
“A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted. In the meantime, I feel we may all find a message of encouragement in the lines which, in my closing words I would like to say to you: He then quotes:
“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.'”‘
The quote is from a poem called “God Knows” by Minnie Haskins.
While hopefully this year we won’t experience the traumatic events of 1940, we will no doubt experience many challenges both in our personal lives and our vocation. For some it maybe, starting a new role, a major family event, starting at a new school, teaching a different year level or subject. We will also no doubt have to deal with, parent concerns, critical incidents, upset students, managing change and many others.
It’s impossible to plan for all the eventualities that are going to present themselves so the words from the King’s speech is a wonderful reminder that we should step out in faith, firmly embedded our hand in God’s and He will guide us through the unknown of what is ahead.
We don’t need a light to guide us or even a known path to walk. God’s hand will lead us gently through the year, helping us to avoid the obstacles, or when we come across things we cannot avoid, he will lead us through them. It really is a wonderful message of hope.
So, my prayer is that no matter what anxieties we all might have about what is ahead of us this year, be assured that our loving God has his hand already outstretched eager to take ours and lead us through whatever may be ahead.