Two months ago we had what are now being called the Kaikoura earthquakes. In at least some supermarkets hot cross buns and other Easter "commercial opportunities" are in the aisles - just opposite the Christmas clearance.
It's easy to be cynical. But New Year somehow presents us with a Christian mandate - that in Jesus our God and Leader, all things are made new.
Our Parish is named after the ultimate in new starts, new beginnings - the Nativity. That nativity, that birth of God as a human being in Jesus is amazing. It represents hope for you and me as individuals. It represents hope for us collectively as a Parish. It represents hope that we can offer our wider society and world!
We have so many exciting things before us this year. I'll write again of some of them.
We have so many solid things that have been built into our foundations in the last 12 months and more.
We have had so many things to be thankful for. I think of the time Libby and I have just had with our kids and grand-boys - that Rachael and her family now live in the South Island, the celebration of William's engagement, walking part of the Queen Charlotte Track with younger daughter Emily, and Michael being here pre-Christmas ... the list goes on.
Being thankful, not cynical - I pray that for you and yours, and us as a Parish for this year. For that reason Libby and I can say to you - Happy New Year!