It's not often I get predictions right but Saturday saw Rose Ayling-Ellis crowned the queen of Strictly Come Dancing. Since I forecast it all those weeks ago, her dancing has just gone to another level with incredibly moving performances that have left the usually unflappable Anton Du Beke in bits and the ice cold Craig Revel-Horwood having to put his critical comments to one side to lavish praise on her faultless performances. I also indicated how the profile of the deaf community has been enhanced by Rose's time on the show. Sign language classes are over subscribed and people signing (and singing) Christmas carols has gone viral on all sorts of media platforms. This is a good good thing. Rose has talked about how she hoped the deaf community would feel included by her time on the show and the legacy is obvious from the numerous plaudits that have been made since the weekend. Susan Daniels, the CEO for National Deaf Children's Society said: “This could be a new dawn for deaf children and young people everywhere because it’s clear for all to see that with the right support and the will to succeed, they can aim for the stars. Strictly may have come to an end, but we sincerely hope that this surge of interest in deafness and the desire to engage with deaf people continues long into the future.” The name of Rose Ayling-Ellis will not only go down on the glitterball trophy but her legacy as champion will live on for those who, up until now perhaps felt excluded from music and dance but now she has paved a permission giving way to give an opportunity which brings the deaf community in from the edge and say 'you too can be part of this'.
Legacy is an oft touted word and can be mis-used and mis-appropriated but our lives can and indeed should be lived with a legacy in mind. The legacy we leave may not be along the lines of the Rose Aling-Ellis's of this world but we can leave a legacy nonetheless. Right now, Euan, along with other older teenagers in their last year in the Juniors, is transitioning to the seniors at Alnwick Harriers and is benefitting from the experience and wisdom of some great runners who want to pass on what they've learnt to the next generation. This is just one example of people seeking to pass the baton on and leave a legacy. The same could be said of good teachers, mentors and of course volunteers, encouragers,
bakers, letter writers etc etc. No-one falls outside the legacy category. No one is exempt, there is no 'get out of legacy free' card.
The end of the year is often a time to look back on the previous 12 months and think about what went well, what went badly and what learning can be taken where learning is needed. Questions such as: Have I left an impact for good this year even for just one person? Where I've made errors, have I sought to put it right in a constructive way that brings healing and better understanding?
The very nature of our humanity means that we will all have to address both of those questions and, in the case of the latter, perhaps make calibrations based on a painful reality check which is essentially needed as we step in 2022. Most of us I'm sure would hope that over the course of our lives and not just the last 12 months, we will have been a force for good in the home, community or workplace. Just as an important side note, there will be times where we feel that our lives are futile and offer nothing and, at such times, God often has this uncanny ability through people, pictures, prayers etc to remind us of just how valuable we are in His sight even if we do not see that in ourselves.
Of course Christmas is the time where God's legacy was demonstrated in the sending of His Son Jesus. I say 'was' but the reality of this divine incarnation in the Judean hillside two thousand years ago was merely the start. His ministry on earth followed by His death,resurrection and ascension were chapters, but the coming of God's Holy Spirit ensures that His legacy Is and Will Be. As we look ahead to 2022 and, as a church, think on: The Jesus I Never Knew, my hope and prayer is that a holistic focus on Jesus will help us to see through fresh eyes His love, compassion, wisdom, justice, forgiveness and hope. And as we do so, may our own lives reflect something of the Person of Jesus, the One we profess to be our guiding light and, may we be authentic followers of Him as a result, so that others may see Him in us. What better legacy is there than that.