Fear Not

My darling boy is in constant pain and I can’t do a thing. I am trying to juggle attempts at homeschooling him, managing my own illness, being Mummy to the other two children (honestly, who invented teenage girls?!) and maintaining a clean and tidy house. A friend ‘gave’ me the verses Isaiah 43:1-3 and after a search I came across this song. I find myself holding onto Jesus’ hand and taking each day one step at a time. I don’t know why I ever thought I could do anything other than this, because it is a blessed way to live, really.  Are you struggling? Then this is for you:

The Miracle Giver

“…wise folk never reject the possibility of miracles… [but] it’s less important to seek after miracles than it is to hunger after the miracle giver… Many folk wear out the path to a miracle or something they believe is of God, but they don’t bother to seek the Lord and Saviour.”

~ spoken by ‘Mammi’ in ‘The Love Letters’ by Beverly Lewis

Needed Time

I’m off to my EMDR session tomorrow, with the full intention of trying to ‘let go’. My friend is in labour with her first baby. My parents are flying back to Europe this week from America. The children are at school tomorrow. A friend mourns his wife.

In the Middle East, Christians are fleeing their homes, their livelihoods, running from everything they have ever known. Worse still, some of them stay, knowing the consequences but choosing to live as people of light in the land of darkness, God help them. God bless them. See how bright they blaze in the darkness?

Children the world over are abandoned, abused, neglected. Families starve in the basement while in the penthouse they party with champagne. One is born into poverty. One is born into privilege. The world groans under the weight of her own iniquities.

Now is the needed time. Lord. As much as ever, we need You. We need a Saviour. Help us to be thankful for ‘enough’ and when we have more than enough, help us to share. Help us to always be alert to the suffering of our brothers and sisters, and to help them in whatever small way we can. We know that with You, Lord, small becomes big, last becomes first, poor becomes rich. Thank you, Lord, for your Upside Down Kingdom. Help us in our weakness. We need You.

Amen

The End of Advent

Advent when you are a child is a time of great expectancy. It is a time of tinsel and lights and parties and nativity plays and fun. On the final day, Father Christmas brings you a sack full of goodies and you eat your own weight in chocolate and mince pies before the end of the year.

Sometimes, Christmas is like that for adults, too. Many of us focus on the glittering, the twinkling, the excuse for a drink or two – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But Christmas isn’t an excuse for a party. Advent isn’t the preparation for gluttony and falling asleep after the Queen’s Speech. Advent is the time we expect the unexpected, yet long-awaited, child who was to rescue the world. In a desperately dark time, when there was famine and dissent and war, Jesus’ contemporaries awaited a saviour who would perhaps sweep across the Middle East, who would destroy their enemies and become a powerful, warrior king – King David with knobs on. But God didn’t choose to be the great destroyer; God instead redeemed His people by sending Himself as a baby.

A baby…?

Then, when He was still small, Jesus became a refugee – the lowest of the low, the least of the least.

There are many Christian refugees fleeing persecution as I write

read more here and find out how you can help these desperate people.

since you have plenty at this time… you should help those… in need.

2 Corinthians 8:14 (GNT)

 

The God of heaven became the God of earth by taking not the form of the most mighty, but the form of the most vulnerable. Like His death on the most gruesome, humiliating piece of torture equipment that the ancient world could imagine (crucifixion was the Roman idea of absolute subjugation of the occupied nation – more on that during Lent, perhaps)… yes, like Jesus’ death, His birth was, and still is, totally, utterly, beyond counter-intuitive – it’s counter-counter-counter intuitive; it’s virtually insane. God becoming man is crazy enough. But before He became a man, He entered the world as we all do, ‘between the p*** and the s***’ to quote St. Augustine. What God is this who would make of Himself a tiny, squalling, red-in-the-face, blood smeared ball of humanity, utterly dependent and utterly vulnerable? What crazy God is this? And what woman was Mary that God entrusted her with His precious son? Does this give an insight into the Roman Catholic reverence for the ‘mother of God’, perhaps?

Our world is still crazy and screwed up and filled with sorrow. It is also thriving, beautiful and filled with joy. How can it be all of these things, all at once? To paraphrase Ann Voskamp, it’s not the screwed-up-ness of the world that is noteworthy, it’s the good bits – they’re the most crazy… and the good bits were made flesh incarnate in the form of our tiny, newborn king.

Come, O come, Emmanuel…

God

with

us.

Un-Paving Paradise

A Nifty Thrifty, Eco-friendly, Ethical Christmas?

As regular readers know, I’m currently studying International Development. This has included a module on the Environment. I have been genuinely shocked to realise how much of my culture is driven by greed, and how this influences all of us until we don’t even realise that we ‘worship’ the great god of Consumerism. Maybe that’s where the prosperity gospel comes from? It replaces Christ with culture. Even those of us who don’t subscribe to a prosperity gospel often care more about ‘stuff’ than God.

 

So? I hear you ask. It’s no good just moaning about it! Well, as part of our response to this, the King family is experimenting. We’re going for an environmentally-friendly, ethical Christmas celebration, which I hope to blog about (health permitting). It is quite disgusting, when you think about it, that we celebrate the arrival of our Saviour with ‘things’ – and these are often ‘things’ we don’t need which rip off poor people and destroy the planet. 21st century western Christmas celebrations are not all twinkly and sparkly and bright. They’re a lie – a perversion. Literally. The birth of our Saviour, born into poverty, choosing to lead a life of poverty – is flipped upside down when we measure it in glitter and gluttony and a forest-worth of wrapping paper.

 

We’re not banning Father Christmas – I think that’s a step too far. The children all know it’s a special game that we play but, this year, each part of our Christmas will have been thought through, and lessons learned for next year. As part of my studies I have learned to question the origin of everything I buy:

How did it get here?

Who made it?

Has it been used before/recycled?

How far has it travelled before I got it?

If it’s new, was the worker who made it paid properly?

Will you follow our story as we attempt our thrifty-eco-ethical Christmas?

 

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know” – William Wilberforce