#Advent20

Sheridan-Wilderness

Been enjoying the company of others around the country on Brian Draper‘s #Advent20 series – and the poem below got me thinking about the pressures on so many on the Christmas season.. being away or abroad for several Christmas’s can make you think differently… (hence e-card, rather than paper cards)

And if, as weeks go round, in the dark of the moon

my spirit darkens and goes out, and soft strange gloom

pervades my movements and my thoughts and words

then I shall know that I am walking still

with God, we are close together now the moon’s in shadow.

DH Lawrence, Shadows

#AdventBookClub: Day 7: Sharing Voices

Carol_Service_Stop-2

King’s College – the beautiful ‘9 Lessons and Carols‘ – I never knew that it was created to help soldiers, unable to equate the brutality they had seen on the front in the First World War – with what they saw in Church – see the story at the centre of the Christian faith (rather than organisations/Christians – we so often get in the way of Jesus I think!). Last year enjoyed Online Carols 2012 so much, and hoping to see them come to fruition this year! I love the fact that we are looking at Genesis in Advent, and seeing how we pull the whole story together, how we have a longing to be fully whole again … and I am enjoying seeing what others have to say about this book (also on Twitter):

Other #adventbookclub bloggers

I have always been encouraged to hear a range of viewpoints, and uncomfortable with black/white thinking … and remember when Maggi & I spoke together at #CNMAC10 (the first one!) – Maggi encouraged us to find our ‘blogging voices’. I love how the three different resources that I’m reading appear to be weaving together – today Brian Draper encouraged us to think about the vulnerability of love – and see how the song ‘Love Came Down’ is interpreted in these two different ways (same song, completely different engagement):

And then onto Ron Glusenkamp’s material (and I am reading/posting each in turn, rather than looking for a common thread before I write – this is responsive writing, rather than academic writing) ..

We are called by the Spirit to create a place and space where love is the foundation of all that we build together. Love is born anew again and again.

Love enables ordinary people to do extraordinary things, which reminds me, if Brian doesn’t mind, I want to share a little more of his material – where he looks to Brené Brown, Daring Greatly to define love, and the risks that come with it (see her TED talk):

“Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die, or betray us tomorrow – that’s vulnerability. Love is uncertain. It’s incredibly risky. And it leaves us emotionally exposed.”

As I head off into a day with friends old and new (we’re going to decorate the Christmas tree) – plenty of thoughts to take with me, and I finish with one from Pam – questioning whether we have ever wanted to hide from God (oh yes):

That point can be the end of the beginning of our relationship with God, but the beginning of an honest one.

Happy Christmas e-Card

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-h0IYWWmEHAw/Tu9CB06bB5I/AAAAAAAACa4/AfSbp65JIi4/s1600/the%2Bstory%2Bof%2Bchristmas%2B%2528infographic%2529.png

Hurrah, I thought I wasn’t even going to get around to my e-card this year (it’s been so hectic… and just think this time last year I’d been scuba diving in the Red Sea, and then climbing Mount Sinai to watch the sun rise on Christmas Day), but I’ve had a couple of inspirational images sent this morning (don’t you just love this one above), so I wanted to say HAPPY CHRISTMAS to everyone…

This year I’m looking forward to staying in Winchester (I’ve realised in the past 5 years this will be my 2nd in Winchester, others have been in Australia, Egypt and Switerzerland!) with the Hitchens.. will be fun! Heading over there before too long, and looking forward to Midnight Communion at CCW.

If you haven’t already joined it, there’s an online ‘crowd-sourced’ carol service run today – find out more about it here: http://bigbible.org.uk/2011/12/are-you-joining-onlinecarols/ … currently live at http://onlinecarols.posterous.com/, but will remain online if you fancy joining later… just use hashtag #onlinecarols if you tweet about it.

There’s so much great stuff online this year – check out this post commissioned from Rev Joanne Cox on The Big Bible Project!

Now, of course I need to reference ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, and thanks to @goannatree for alerting me to this one:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=309483909091336&set=a.143365612369834.15035.104839619555767&type=1&theater

Now, 2011 has been a tough year, but lots of things to be thankful for also! This is the year that you need to encourage me to get my PhD published, and #keepbexrunning for The Great South Run (10 miles) in October…

Have you been watching ‘The Nativity’?

Read the following by Andrew Graystone (full article):

“Next week BBC1 will broadcast a four-part drama retelling the story of The Nativity.  It has been written by Tony Jordan, one of the UK’s most gifted TV story-liners.  He was responsible for the narrative of Eastenders for most of its 25 years.  And he’s brought to The Nativity all the same story-telling skills.

Jordan has portrayed the central characters with intense honesty; two young people caught in an impossible situation, struggling to cope with the arrival of an unexpected baby.  Meanwhile there are parallel stories unfolding; three wise men are following what they take to be signs in the sky; farm-hands scratch a living while an uncaring government takes away what little resources they have.  All along you feel that these diverse narratives are destined to crash into each other in some extraordinary event.  What is different about this story is that at several key points the camera zooms out and we see the earth from space.  There is a groaning sound.  Tony Jordan is telling us that in this story something cosmic is happening; something of ultimate significance.

Many people in our generation are attracted to the idea that life is a continuing drama.  Walt Disney’s “circle of life” reassures that that the human narrative need never end. It means we don’t have to clean up our own mess.  If there is a divine story-liner, his job is to keep the narrative permanently open. But a story that is endless is ultimately meaningless.

Christians don’t believe that the human story is a continuing drama. History doesn’t go round in circles like the London Eye.  It is linear and purposeful like the London Marathon.  The human narrative had a beginning in God, a historical middle in which God intervened definitively in the most spectacular and dramatic way, and an end that God will surely bring about.”

See the trailer:

I look forward to seeing the rest of it on iPlayer when I get back from Egypt (looks like it’s on, but I won’t believe it til we’re in the air!)! (And for a change of pace, try ‘The Accidental Farmer‘… so funny, particularly when you come from a farming background!