"In modern culture, it almost seems like silence is extinct. We have given noise our consent to fill every moment of life. And it’s not just sonic noise, but even the mental noise that comes from constant entertainment. Through our smartphones, our tablets and our laptops, we always have access to a virtual world that demands… Continue reading We need more silence in our lives
‘I want to simplify your lives. When others are telling you to read more, I want to tell you to read less; when others are telling you to do more, I want to tell you to do less. The world does not need more of you; it needs more of God. Your friends do not… Continue reading Christmas Pretox: a pre-emptive strike on festive busyness
'Reconciliation' by Josefina de Vasconcellos (at Coventry Cathedral) The Queen's message, broadcast on Christmas Day was viewed by almost 8 million people this year. This meant it topped the Christmas viewing charts. In recent years, the Queen has been increasingly open about her Christian faith. This quote particularly struck me this year: “For me, the life of Jesus… Continue reading The Queen’s Christmas message: a model of how to talk about faith in the public sphere
"I remember coming back from a very long tour...Got home for Christmas, very excited of being in Dublin. On Christmas Eve, I went to St Patrick's Cathedral...it's a kind of tradition on Christmas Eve to go but I had never been. I went to this place, sat. I was given a really bad seat, behind one… Continue reading Bono on Christmas: ‘Love has to become something concrete’
Nativity scene – Julius Garibaldi Melchers – 1891 All of us have many things that they can worry about - whether its money, work, family or tricky relationships. When I became a parent it hugely expanded the scope and range of things I could be fearful of. You could say that anxiety is the default setting for modern… Continue reading ‘Do not be afraid’ is at the heart of the Christmas story
Walking with the crowds, Carried along by the pressing forward. Each one eager to get ahead, but each one starting the same – born as a baby and from then on struggling towards meaning, power and influence. Be someone, Be remembered, Make a big impression; leave some indelible mark in your 3 score years and… Continue reading ‘The Great Reversal’ – a poem by Kester Brewin
In my view,It’s a Wonderful Lifeis not the best Christmas film ever. It is simply the best film ever, full stop.
Released in 1946, the film focuses on the life of a man called George Bailey (James Stewart) who lives in the small town of Bedford Falls. George intends to ‘shake off the dust of this crumby little town’ and get away to see the world and achieve great things. Yet through tragedy and his own sense of responsibility, he ends up spending his entire life in Bedford Falls running the building cooperative that his late father established.
He sacrifices a lot. He ends up giving the college money he has saved to his younger brother so he can go to university instead of him. During the depression he and his new wife give their honeymoon funds to keep the ‘Building & Loan’ going. All the…
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This morning, I watched my five year old daughter make her acting debut in her school Nativity Play. It had everything to be expected – excitable shepherds, pretty Angels, proud parents and a clip-clopping Donkey. It was cute, fun and everyone had a good time. It's important to remember though that Nativity Plays, like Children's Bibles,… Continue reading Infanticide…and other Christmas themes
Christmas is an important time for homeless projects and every year I speak briefly at a handful of concerts and services. This is (roughly) what I said at the beginning of the second half of Divertimento choir's wonderful fundraising concert for us. "Yesterday I was at the Salvation Army carol concert and the evening concluded… Continue reading Why acceptance isn’t enough – a reflection on the nativity and homelessness