God has wonderful promises for us as we travel on through life and into later years.The best news is that,inside we need never grow old because He has actually promised to renew our youth day by day.

Isaiah 40:31

Monday, 21 December 2015

Sunday Sunrise

My husband and I had spent Saturday visiting his eighty year old Mother, a very uncomfortable fifty minute journey there on a rattly bus and the same again at the end of the day.

My Mother in law stopped cooking after her last husband (don't ask!) died four years ago and eats out all the time instead or buys in 'ready meals' that go in the microwave...even the tea is instant. Her main topics of conversation being how much money she has managed to save and where her next cruise/holiday was going to be and when.

 So we knew we were in for a very long day as usual.

So Sunday morning, I woke up even earlier than usual, full of aches and pains so decided to take a walk with the dawn to clear my headache.

As you can see from the photo above, getting a full uninterrupted view of the sky is virtually impossible from the back yard which is why I do often go a-walking to enjoy the view....

Before I set off just after 8.0am.

The shortest day will soon be here with the Winter Solstice on Tuesday 22nd December and the days will slowly start getting longer...hooray...

From this view in my back yard I walk round the corner and onto the footpath by the side of the main road and get my first real view of the morning sky....

There used to be a large senior school on this site, demolished earlier this year all ready for a brand new housing estate to be built in the New Year...all those little boxes called 'starter homes' which have no garden space and very little space in between each house

The slight morning mist indicates just how unseasonally warm it has been this last week

"When Morning Gilds The Sky"....to quote a very ancient German hymn

...there is always a seagull perched somewhere.....

This is the car park of the College my grandaughter's attend.... not very glamourous I know, but I make the most of the views available!

Round another corner to start the walk home, still faint glimpses of the rising sun.

Back on the main road...home for my bowl of Porridge and a welcome pot of Green Tea.

For some reason my early morning walks are always taken before breakfast...no idea why!

All that is left is for me to wish you all a peaceful Christmastide and  best wishes for the coming year.

Pax et Bonum

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Rethinking the Nativity Scenario

My eldest daughter sent us this wooden Advent /Nativity scene at the beginning of November. 
Twenty four doors concealing twenty four Nativity 'characters'. 
There are twelve doors on each side and the stable on top turns round 
(a bit like one of those old fashioned 'lazy susan' rotating trays)

It is made of wood and rather heavy, thank goodness it came direct from Amazon and she didn't have to post it herself!

After we had unwrapped it and set it in pride of place on the sideboard we began to unwrap the many layers of bubble wrap to reveal all the 'characters' to put in the doors.

I automatically picked up the 'baby in a manger' figure to put in door number twenty four when  husband suddenly said 
that was 'not biblical'.......
.....this made me think!

He was right...the biblical nativity narrative begins with a stable at the inn where the animals are over wintering...so the animals went into the first doors.

Then along comes a donkey, with Mary and Joseph...so they went in next along with a fire  which is when I took this photograph. 

Just sorry that Mary and Joseph are extremely 'white, anglo saxon, protestants'. 

Would be nice to have 'ethnically correct' figures .

 The fire as you can see is rather out of proportion but looks very warm!

....next comes the baby Jesus in his manger....NOT on day twenty four.

Then we have angels and shepherds, and  next the Star that appeared to the Wise Men and finally along come the three Wise Men to complete the scene......

Can see why at the 'Crib Service' the baby in the manger is always put into the  scene last, but if you think about it......that order is all wrong according to my Bible!!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

'Wants not Needs'

Image result for matthew 11 28

One of today's Advent readings is Matthew 11:28-30  which got me thinking.......
It is safe to say that in today's consumerist and materialistic society there is confusion about what is needed for life and what is actually important.

In this run up to Christmas the vast majority of the shops  are selling wants  and not needs. 

What society now calls 'needs' were formerly 'wants' and these have moved to such a level of sophistication that now luxuries are "necessities" for many people in the western world.

The upwardly mobile in society cannot it seems, feel 'good' about themselves unless the holiday next year is to be more expensive and luxurious than the one taken this year, or unless the clothes in the wardrobe are regularly upgraded for the latest fashion, or unless the house is regularly redecorated or remodelled, and the latest technology bought as soon as it comes on the market regardless of coast.

People become  trapped and un-free; as if running on a perpetual hamster's wheel, 
Inherently unsatisfied and unfulfilled.

Meanwhile very little thought is given to the fact that most of God's people on this earth are homeless and starving.

God's people have learnt to find happiness and freedom at a much simpler level.

What Matthew's gospel is saying is that such simplicity is the only place that happiness is ever found in the first place.

The twenty first century materialistic  society  has made happiness and contentment largely impossible and has created a pseudo- happiness based on having instead of just being. A society so overstimulated that the ordinary no longer delights and people are so busy in their busy-ness that they cannot rest or abide in the presence of God, nor do they want to.

I realise that such a message is about as traditional, old fashioned and conservative a gospel message as can be shared but it will always be true. One that every generation needs to hear and believe anew. 
Particularly in this time and this culture of excess,

Society has become one of human doings more than human beings and the verb 'to rest' as Jesus uses it in this passage is largely foreign to most people. The very word 'rest' conjours up  the images of idleness and just 'doing nothing'.
Rest is not valued in this world of wants  and  must haves.

They don't know what they are missing