It seems strange to have three times when the year begins again.
Opinion is divided over the importance of the evening of December 31st as we celebrate or out behind us another revolution around the Sun, and make plans and resolutions for the next twelve months. It should be helpful for us to mark a decision to try to be healthier or happier, even though we question how quickly these pledges are forgotten once January 2nd comes around.
Advent Sunday marks the start of the Church year, and has a helpful sense of the rhythm of life which sees us mark the Christian Festivals and seasons. We live in the continued story of the Gospels, and therefore starting again and re-reading are all helpful practices.
But the end of August is another time of beginning. Time away gives chance for reflection. I returned to a familiar place at the end of July and was taken aback by the growth of hedgerows and crops - I couldn't recall the last time I had seen them, or if I had been back had been too busy to look and take them in. But the start of the new school term gives a sense of returning to ministry, but with fresh eyes and sharpened priorities; both for the Church I am part of, but also for myself as a person trying to minister faithfully for the long term.
It is good to be back, good to back wrestling with Scripture, good to be with the Church family again. It is also good to have had some space to think and reflect and to reassess.