A few days ago I was talking to a parishioner who had just suffered a major trauma. We both agreed that it is good we cannot tell the future, because we couldn’t bear the bad times and we would lose the excitement of the good times. And we all have many good times as well as some almost unbearable bad times.

Over the past couple of months my mum-in-law has been ill and I have seen too many people hurt from illness and death. Friends have witnessed ones they love doing silly things and none of us is immune from the perilous state of the economy. In other countries we hear of wars and natural disasters, with much suffering.

On the other hand I have been to weddings, enjoyed having the family together before Gareth goes off to South America for six months and witnessed an amazing change in Sarah’s life following a small operation. And there have been many other special moments. (even Notts Forest have won a few football matches!)

So while we cannot tell the future, we do know someone who can. And of course that is our God and creator. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. This includes being born and dying, weeping and laughing, and at war or at peace.. W e also worship a God who literally knows absolutely everything about us. He created my inmost being and he knows my lifespan. He even knows the number of hairs on my head!

So as we move through autumn, into Advent, Christmas and the New Year, so we can look forward to celebrating the birth of the Christ child. Because with Jesus as our Saviour our ultimate future is full of hope, joy and peace. May your good times outweigh the bad times, but may all of your journey through life be accompanied by the Spirit of God. Allow him to laugh with you, cry with you, comfort and support you and be surrounded by his love.

God bless.