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A season of transitions as we enter 2024

By Jenny Adams

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Happy new year. I hope 2024 brings you peace, hope and love.

This is a season of transition, though transitions have recently had a varied reputation.

The COP28 climate summit saw nations agree to transition away from fossil fuels, rather than phasing them out.

That has received a mixed reception – the language doesn’t really communicate urgency and enormity, but apparently was a big step for oil-producing countries.

Here, and everywhere dependent on oil and gas jobs, there’s been growing discussion about just transition. Recognising the terrible losses and ongoing impact of 1980s coal mine closures, it’s hoped that this shift can be done with much greater care for people and communities most involved in fossil fuel industries.

Yet it must still happen, for the sake of those most affected by the climate emergency.

Transitioning gender also became a hot topic in Scotland last year. For those who feel a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity, it can be hugely damaging not to be able to live life in a way that expresses who they are.

Proposals to reduce barriers and resultant harm became politically charged, amongst concern for different vulnerabilities and some unfair and unhelpful stereotypes.

Like many things in life, we need to listen to understand what people are feeling and living through, especially when their experiences are different from our own.

So, transitions were a hot topic in 2023 in politics. These examples will impact many of our lives, personally and communally, alongside other life changes. We also have the transitions of a new year, however positive or negative, big or small, those seem.

New year may bring small alterations in a new calendar. It may include personal resolutions for the coming days.

Or 2024 may bring big life changes, by choice or imposed by circumstances. What transitions are you expecting? What are you hoping for?

This leads onto another topic – hope.

Transitions happen in many different ways – chosen or imposed, just or unfair, accepted or resisted. We can be swept along or can intentionally engage. Whatever, I hope we can seek out hope.

If you need a bit of help with hope, especially in the face of climate change, in January tsiMoray offers opportunities to learn about Active Hope.

Taught by locally-based psychologist Chris Johnstone, Active Hope is an energy of engagement that happens through us, to positively impact our lives, our relationships, and our world. It connects to ideas including nourishment, resilience, capacity and inspiration, all very helpful in life’s transitions.

From a faith perspective, many of us also find hope and strength through the higher power we know as God. For me, Christmas is a story of a transition – of God becoming a small vulnerable human being, so we can know God better.

And for me, that gives hope that whatever transitions we need to make in the world and whatever transitions come along with the new year, I am never alone.

May 2024 bring you positive transitions, may you face nothing alone, and may you find and nourish hope to live every day well.

n Jenny Adams is the Minister of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Church of Scotland.

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