By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will have started. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters to several kind elderly aunties who always sent me Christmas presents. I remember it being a bit of a chore as a child and when I became a parent I found out that the next generation of children were no different!!
As Christians we are encouraged to always give thanks – and that is right. Unlike the ‘dreaded thank you letters’ of childhood scripture encourages us to be joyful in our gratitude. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make it our New Year resolution to always to remember to give thanks to God daily for the good things in our lives. Often you find that a grateful heart produces the strength to bear the not so good things in life better than a resentful one.
Let us at the start of 2019 take the words of St Paul in his letter to the Colossians as our template of thanksgiving for the year ahead and pray that it will be a fulfilling one in our own lives and in the life of the church going forward.
“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Marion joins me in wishing you all a happy and peaceful New Year.
This year the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights begins the same day as the Christian church celebrates Advent Sunday (2nd December). Hanukkah is an eight day celebration and runs to the evening of Monday, 10th December. The origins of Hanukkah go back to second century BC when the Greek … Continue reading Light in the World
As I write, in a little over a week, I am off to Houston, Texas where I am officiating at the wedding of Matt and Kristen on 3rd November. I am looking forward to my visit not only for the wedding but I have always been a bit of a Western fan as well as … Continue reading Texan Talk
I have just returned from a few days away at a URC Ministers’ Conference at High Leigh in Hertfordshire. Among the topics we discussed were what the apostle, Paul calls, “Spiritual Gifts.” In some churches, mainly those from a Pentecostal background, the main spiritual gifts are considered to be things like prophesying and speaking in … Continue reading Spiritual Gifts
September is a month of change. Primary school children change to a different class, year 6 to a different school. Secondary pupils change to a different year or change from school to university or college and for some they change from school to the world of work. In the natural world the seasons change throughout … Continue reading All Change
Well the football World Cup is over and the England team came so very close!! Well done to Gareth Southgate and his squad, apart from nearly pulling off the ultimate prize they also pulled their country together in a positive way for a couple of exciting weeks of eager expectancy. While the World Cup is … Continue reading Football
Marion and I have just recently returned from holiday on the Isle of Wight. I hadn’t visited the island for at least twenty years and I’d forgotten how nice it was. While Marion and her sister and brother-in-law were undertaking the considerable feat of walking the entire island coastal path – a distance of 80 … Continue reading Encouragement
I am writing this on the morning of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just after I have seen a young couple who are getting married at Emmanuel in September. All this wedding talk brought to my mind the number of times the marriage motive and wedding themes are mentioned in the Bible. … Continue reading Royal Wedding
I am writing this a few days after the UK together with our allies in the US and France have launched airstrikes against the chemical warfare installations in Syria. Regardless of our political persuasions all right thinking people can surely only be appalled at the use of such horrendous weapons by the Assad regime against … Continue reading For evil to triumph…
Easter Sunday this year is on 1st April – quite early in the spring. Because of our particularly cold winter, the daffodils are a bit late in blooming in our gardens but they are coming out now just in time for Easter. These spring flowers are natural and beautiful symbols of the new life which … Continue reading New Life
Although Easter is not until 1st April, the month of March contains two very important Sundays in the Lenten Season – Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. At first, apart from both being Sundays there doesn’t seem much connection between these two dates in the Church’s year. But there is a connection and the connection is … Continue reading Why did Jesus have two donkeys?
Easter is early this year – 1st April in fact, so Lent too is early beginning on St Valentine’s Day (14th February) which is also Ash Wednesday. What are you giving up for Lent? Giving up things for Lent is, of course, a matter of personal choice and not a requirement of our Reformed faith. … Continue reading What are you giving up for Lent?