Monday, December 27

Merry Christmas everyone ...

Trust me to be running a bit late ...

A belated Happy Christmas to all the faithful readers of my blog ... and to anyone else who happens to be passing!

Christmas 2004 for me was spent in York with my parents, my brother Danny and his wife Caz (who live in York) and Caz's parents. We all arrived on 23rd and had a fun few days of games, outings, plenty of food & drink, music, a little TV and of course thinking about the coming of the Lord Jesus as our King and Saviour ...

I think Christmas was particularly poignant for me this year after a term at the North West Partnership Ministry Training Course (try saying that after your Christmas pud & brandy butter!!!) In our Biblical Theology module we've been looking in detail at the Old Testament and the outworking of God's salvation plan through it all and it's really struck me how much the OT should make us yearn for Jesus ... And this makes Christmas totally exciting. Last week at The Plant we were reading Mary's song from Luke's Gospel (poncy churches call it "The Magnificat") and I got such a strong sense of the wonder, the awe, the excitement and the expectancy that comes with the announcement of Christ coming into the world. It's as though God says "Right, here we go lads! This is the big one. This is the one you've all been waiting for!" The culmination of hundreds of years of waiting ... the fulfilment of God's faithful promises to his people down the ages.

The joy of reading the Old Testament and getting that same sense of expectancy and excitement with the coming of Christ just made Christmas time that bit more special this year ... I know it sounds a bit stupid cos he's already come and we know what he did and it was all such a long time ago, but I can't help feel we're meant to get excited at Christmas ... not about presents, trees, food, family or fun (These are good things, but not the most important!) but about the fact that at Christmas we remind each other of that tremendous moment in history when God started to unravel his salvation plan ... The wonder of God himself coming down to live among us, to experience our trial and sorrow, to remain obedient through temptation and ultimately to go to the cross and be raised again to life so that our sin might be dealt with and we might have the promise of new life in Jesus' name. Wow!

I hope you had a great Christmas and that you've been excited anew by the wonder of Jesus Christ, God the Son come to earth as a man so that we might know God, his everlasting love and have life through him.

God bless you at this time ...

Tuesday, December 7

Band Aid - A partial retraction!!!

And now for a spectacular climb down!

Having heard the Band Aid 20 version of "Do They Know It's Christmas Time?" and a TV program all about the making of it etc., I have to say I've been turned around somewhat.

I still think it's a shame that it takes projects like Band Aid to remind us of the crippling poverty around the world and that we seem to be more generous to charitable causes when we get something in return, as though the cause isn't worthy enough by itself, but when you see Bob Geldof, Bono and co. interviewed it's clear that their heart is really in it. They're determined to use their fame and influence for an extremely noble and worthwhile cause, to spread awareness and remind people that 20 years after the original Band Aid, there are people still living in the most abject poverty. Geldof said "This is no longer about charity, but about basic human existence." There is even a new pressure group called "Make Poverty History" that aims to get the politicians to do their bit, get rid of Third World debt and make some serious, committed steps towards ending the gross inbalance of wealth and poverty between the West & the Third World.

Good on each and every artist who contributed their talents to this cause ... In some ways I don't think the record is as good as the original, but that's besides the point. As we enter Christmas time (or Materialism Fest as it seems to be now) amidst showering one another with unnecessary gifts and getting ourselves into debt over it, it can be so easy to forget that there are many people who don't have those things we take for granted so much, we hardly notice them anymore! As we remember Christmas time and God's abundant generosity in giving his only Son Jesus to us to be our Saviour and friend, how can we not be more generous with our money? Are we really comfortable with being such bad stewards of God's creation?

Hopefully, this new single will raise awareness of world poverty to the extent that we will become much much more generous; that we will continue donating and putting pressure for action from our politicians way beyond the song dropping out of the Top 40.

Feed the world.

Thursday, December 2

Bono's Problem Solved

I was thinking the other day that perhaps the reason that Bono from U2 sings "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is because he's looking for a place "Where The Streets Have No Name" ... It's certainly going to be challenging!

Not much news really ... although do look out at because something very new and exceedingly exciting is on it's way ... even more exciting than a Mr Kipling Bramley Apple pie (with custard)!

Until next time ...