Sunday, 22 December 2013

Happy christmas 2013

 This year we have sent cards to our far away friends but not to the those in Harlow Baptist Church, our home church, opting instead to give the money we would have spent to Operation Christmas Child and putting a card in the church hall instead. Different, maybe, but hopefully the lack of a card for some will help others who really need to hear "Happy Christmas" who might not have otherwise heard that wonderful greeting.

Our prayer is that this Christmas, whatever you are each doing, where ever you are going to be - at home, with friends, with relatives or on your own, you will know the joy of Christmas and be able to celebrate it, knowing that God is with us "Immanuel".

We will be celebrating as we sing carols with all of our friends at Harlow Baptist Church, we hope you will be able to celebrate with a church near you. Go on treat yourselves this Christmas :-)

Happy Christmas, to all of those who read this blog and to all of our friends.

from Tony and Nicola

Monday, 9 December 2013

Telling the story

As I prepared for Christmas this year, a theme kept recurring, that of telling the story. As I pondered this I began once again to marvel at the breadth of God's story in the bible. The thread that runs through all of it, showing how much God cares about his creation and in particular, humanity.

I sat this week in a carol service, not one that I had organised, so was able to simply participate without any responsibility and absorb the thoughts and challenges as well as singing carols. One of the items was a series of interviews with folks in the street of the town where the service took place. People were asked some questions about Christmas like:

 "What's your favourite at Christmas?".
 "What is Christmas all about?"
"What is the Christmas story?"

And so on ...

A number had no idea that Jesus Christ was the point or that the story is more than just a nice tale which means we can party, meet friends, family and enjoy lots of food and presents.

Another discussion on another occasion, reminded me that for many children and young people today, there is no understanding of the Christmas story as in the bible.

So the point of these thoughts? Well you may recall, if you read the bible, that God told the Israelites to make sure they continued to tell the story of his great miracles and works for them, of his goodness. "Tell your children and your children's children" . It is repeated in a number of places.

So that's our role, to tell the story, tell it with joy and wonder, tell of the great things that God has done and continues to do for us. Tell of the God who has come among us, to help us find him once again, to bring to fruition all that he promised throughout scripture. Tell of the God who performed miracles in insignificant peoples' lives and brought John the Baptist and Jesus into the world, of the God who sent amazing Angels to bring messages to Mary, Zechariah and the shepherds outside Bethlehem.

Some will think its good that fewer know the whole story and that its time it vanished altogether, Christingle services, Carols services, Christmas services will all see many who don't know the story. I say let people hear the whole story and be allowed to make their own minds up. Lets tell the story and speak it out and let people know the whole story and not the sound bites that are so often a part of media culture today.

Share the story in your own family over Christmas as well.

Tell the story to a world that deserves the whole story.