A confession: this year has not all been sweetness and light. For example, at one point, I even posted a blog that somebody took the wrong way and thought was about them (it wasn't) but it was symptomatic of an awkward situation that something less than a molehill became something more than a mountain.
So as I look back at the end of the year, I would be less than honest if I said that there were no regrets.
And then something happens that blows all that out of the water, totally humbling me, and re-writing my whole take on the year. What happened?
Not just from a theolgical, reflective, "Love came down" so let's get everything in it's place kind of way. No: I mean, from an experiential this Christmas way - this Christmas happened.
Not since I was a kid, and perhaps not even then, have I been the recipient of so many gifts from so many people. So many tokens of love. So many small and not-so-small (and one or two downright large) gifts from people who told me that they wanted to express their thanks for something they have received from me this year, or just their best wishes towards me. And wide-eyed and slightly astonished I have stood there, and let the gifts grow under the tree as Christmas approached. But it wasn't till Thursday afternoon when I actually opened these presents that I sat in frank astonishment and gut-churned awe at the pile before me.
I've never had a Christmas like it.
And after the emotional journey of these past few months, which actually (quite rightly) almost none of you know about, the gift of that moment, and the sense of being in a community of love in this place - was a wonderful thing. A present I shall never forget. So for those of you here who read these postings: from the deepest place in my heart - thank you.