Dear Friends, You may have noticed that the world didn’t collide with another planet in 2012, although a couple of years before some websites had forecast that it would. Cleverly – and controversially – this turned out to be publicity for the film 2012, which tells a tale of how, microwaved by the sun, the Earth begins to disintegrate. A feast of special effects follows, and eventually a bunch of boffins who have foreseen these events build a modern Noah’s Ark and save the day. For Christians, January comes with memories of another bunch of boffins who, after some stargazing of their own, similarly set out to investigate what has been revealed to them and share this with King Herod who takes this as a threat. Troops descend on Bethlehem while Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt – there must be a box office hit in that somewhere! 2012 certainly puts any anxieties about what 2016 might bring into perspective. Films sometimes make interesting observations on what people are like. Faced with dying along with the planet some act selfishly, others discover previously undiscovered gifts, and others act unselfishly – as Jesus put it, some in seeking to save their lives lose them, and others in losing their lives find them. The story of the Wise Men also makes observations on human nature. Confronted with what God is doing, individuals set out on epic journeys, acting with generosity and obedience while others regard his purposes as a threat to their own. As God’s gift is revealed to the world, the story of how humanity receives him begins to unfold. It is a story which continues today, and in which we all have a part whether we are conscious of it or not. With best wishes for a peaceful New Year, Brian