Well 2017 seemed to come and go in a blur and here we are in 2018 already!
In spite of the pressures of enforced fun and a number of New Year’s Eve misfires over the years, I love the New Year period. The celebrations on 31st December seem to fly in the face of our usual doom and gloom about the state of the world. With friends, fizz and fireworks we celebrate the sheer joy of being alive to see the birth of another year and thus seem to be publicly declaring our hopeful agreement with Etty Hillesum that ‘life is beautiful, in spite of everything’.
It was this strand of bold hope that led to the founding of the NHS 70 years ago. The sheer audacity to suggest that health care should be free at the point of entry for everyone in our society, at a time of real austerity and hardship blows my tiny English mind…but perhaps such radical thinking came more naturally to Aneurin Bevan, the people of Tredegar and beyond!
This week, looking at headlines which speak of record numbers of ambulance delays, waiting times and cancelled operations amid the now annual crisis, one could get a little despondent…but I’ve still got the New Year hope bubbling away inside (alongside the man-flu!).
Perhaps now, more than ever, we need to show our deep gratitude for our NHS workers; perhaps now we need to show our determination to fight for the institution’s survival, even flourishment; perhaps now we need to offer our prayers for the spirit of compassion and care to whip through these shores greater than any Storm Eleanor. So, 6 months to the day when the NHS celebrates its 70th Birthday, please join us in planning a party, running a rally, hosting a hootenanny, writing a thank you card or whatever else we might think of to show our support, admiration and love for the NHS and all who work for it.
Happy 2018…let’s make it a good’un!
Minister at St. David’s Uniting Church, Pontypridd & Castle Square URC, Treforest www.stdavidsuniting.org