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Showing posts from December, 2013

Christmas Eve

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Lord Jesus Christ, your birth at Bethlehem draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth: accept our heartfelt praise as we worship you, our Saviour and our God.
a Christmas season prayer from Common Worship Daily Prayer
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

O Come O Come Emmanuel

The house is clean (ish), the tree decorated, presents wrapped, food stocks ready for the family who will arrive over the next 3 days. Advent is almost over. Christmas is nearly here, the great celebration of 'God with us', 'Emmanuel'. If you have been busy preparing, why not take 3 - 4 minutes to be still, rest, watch a flickering candle and listen to this beautiful  version of 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel'.
For another version of this last of the 'O Antiphons' for use in the 8 days before Christmas Eve see my post last year here.

Light in Darkness

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I've just realised that today is the 'shortest day'.

In the northern hemisphere December is a dark month. The days get shorter until 21 December.

From tomorrow onwards the hours of daylight start to get longer. I can't wait.

One of my favourite Advent images is light shining in darkness.

"The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness - 
on them light has shined."
Isaiah 9: 2

Image Credit: Travis Silva on CreationSwap

Nelson Mandela

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I've ditched a St Nicholas Day post because there's no way I can ignore yesterday's death of Nelson Mandela, one of the people of our time that I find most inspiring.

I think the best way to pay tribute to him is to use some of Mandela's words. Here's a few that mean something to me:
"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.""...to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.""As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.""I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope."And here are a few links I found helpful today:

Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town's Prayer f…

Christmas Newsletters

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The first Christmas cards and annual newsletters are starting to arrive in the post. Some people are so well organized. I wonder if the age of those round-robin Christmas newsletters is well past in this digital age? Probably not. Most of those we receive come in the form of an email sent to multiple recipients. So they continue but in a different way.

As far as I can remember we only once sent one as a family and that was at least a couple of decades ago. Such letters are hard to write if you have any sensitivity for the people to whom you send them.There are so many pitfalls - what to put in - what to leave out. If you had a miserable year do you moan about it and make the recipients feel guilty or sorry for you? If it has been a year full of happiness or remarkable achievements by yourself or your children, how do you say that without sounding unbearably smug and causing some to feel jealous while others may be delighted?

And when annual newsletters are often written in a hurry becau…

Disturbing Advent images

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What is your favourite Advent image? What is your least favourite?
I was challenged by a sermon last Sunday to spend time looking at one or more of the disturbing images presented in the Bible readings set for the Advent season.
My preference is the image of light, the idea of the new day soon to dawn after night (Romans 13: 12) or the lighting of Advent candles. Just looking at pictures selected on this blog to represent Advent,such as the one at the top of my Advent and Christmas page, I seem to go for the warm and light-filled images.
Last Sunday's gospel (Matthew 24: 36 - 44) included two disturbing images of the coming of the Lord: a catastrophic flood and a thief breaking into a house at night. Rather than dwelling on such signs of coming judgement at a time known only to God, wouldn't we prefer to concentrate on preparing for the baby wrapped in cloths in the manger? So much more cosy. 
Next Sunday's gospel (Matthew 3: 1 - 12) is about as far from cosy as you can get. T…

Advent hope against hope

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I'm trying to get back to posting here more regularly. I haven't felt much like doing so during the last few months of coping with bereavement, health problems and a recent operation among other things.

I now actually want to write more which is a good indication I am recovering. I still lack energy so some posts may be reposts or borrowing other's material, rather than much originality - but who knows how it will go?

Today is the 3rd day of Advent. One of the recurring themes of Advent is hope. Without hope people die. When hope dies people die. I love this call by Daniel Berrigan to enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope.

You can find information about Daniel Berrigan's life and work here. Or you can read his Advent call which I quote below. The formatting is mine.

ADVENTIt is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss --This is true:For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him, shal…

Advent Starts Today: an explanation in 2 minutes

For a previous post for today see 1st Sunday of Advent.
For a poem for the Advent season see Advent Coming.