Redemption rips through the surface of time

scene.jpg I love Christmas! The romantic in me struggles that there isn’t snow on the ground but otherwise it’s great. I love catching up with friends, getting cards, being family, drinking red wine and the excitement that Christmas is a pivotal moment in time and in our own lives, Emmanuel, God with us!
Those of you who know me will acknowledge that God didn’t see fit to give me a singing voice (One lady remarked to me, “You know I admire you Ian, during that last Hymn you picked a note and you stuck to it!”) but I love singing Carols (providing there’s sufficient volume to drown me out). I was going to write about some of the profound lines from Carols, but I keep thinking about the re-editted versions the youth group come up with. So instead here’s an awesome lyric from Bruce Cockburn,
“Like a rock on the surface of a still river
Driving the ripples on forever
Redemption rips through the surface of time
In the cry of a tiny babe”

and the last verse of the narrative reads,
“There are others who know about this miracle birth
The humblest of people catch a glimpse of their worth
For it isn’t to the palace that the Christ child comes
But to shepherds and street people, hookers and bums
And the message is clear if you’ve got ears to hear
That forgiveness is given for your guilt and your fear
It’s a Christmas gift you don’t have to buy
There’s a future shining in a baby’s eyes”

It’s, well Incredible!

Went to see “The Incredibles” yesterday and it is, in fact, incredible! Pixar have done it again and come up with a truly original story that would stand up regardless of the animation which just happens to be jaw-droppingly awesome!
This is animation that has truly come of age, it’s not a kids film at all (long, complex and with lots of relationship development) but it is Childlike in the best sense. It has the best screen villian EVER and has wit, pathos and humour in great measures. I really loved this film. It’ll be well worth getting the DVD but you should see it at the cinema!
(I spoke to one female youth worker this morning who thought it might be more of a blokes film? So I’d love some more female perspectives on this!)
Watching it in a Youth worker sort of a way, I loved Violet’s part in the film, her move from adolescent awkwardness to a greater self awareness and confidence was great!

Tongue, very much, in Cheek

Sarah jokingly blogged that she could see no theological justification for Christmas Crackers. I felt compelled to respond!
No theological justification for Crackers? To me the Bible resonates with pointers to these as one of the most central symbolic celebrations of Christ’s Birth!
The Cracker comes as a pre-wrapped package, the contents known yet unknown! A clear pointer to the Coming Prophet, Priest and King of the old testament but the mystery, only known in part, still to be revealed!
Opening this package happens with a small explosion, can this be anything other than a dramatic pointer to the fact that the gospel is the “power” of God [Romans 1:16], in the Greek “Dunamis” … literally Dynamite!
The mysterious contents are thus revealed, partly guessed and yet still a suprise. The crown to recognise the coming King. The gift to celebrate the presenting to the Christ of Gold, Frankinsense and Myrrh (it is no accident that cracker gifts are quite obscure I think). Lastly the joke, a profound pointer to God’s humour! While the Magi search for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords at the palace, he is born into poverty, obscurity and danger.
For me the Crackers, as ever, will serve a near sacramental and pivotal role in the feast!
Pulling a cracker.jpg

Nativity Naivety

Nativitynaff2.jpg
Thanks for the comments you’ve posted to the previous “Post” I am disappointed that you so easily conceded defeat but I couldn’t find anything to trump it either. I throw in a scene that is right up there in terms of cheesiness but lacks the previous level of sickening crassness
On a more serious note though. How do we get away from the Christmas Card dung free perfection that looks like being born in a stable was a jolly lovely alfresco alternative? The fact that God’s son was born into extreme poverty, discomfort and danger is a potent opening statement in God’s rescue plan that gets so easily lost eh?
If you’ve managed a teaching session with your group where there was real engagment with this, I’d love to hear about it!
I’ve got a great title for the session: “Time to STOP cutting the Crap!

Nativity Oddity

Hutchinson has linked to a few different Nativity scenes on his blog right up to a life size one. There’s some interesting ones from around the world on Beliefnet (click on creches). I also thought it’d be “good” to put this one up that I’m still reeling from twelve months on!
I lay the gauntlet down my blog-buddies, find one more cheesy, tasteless and crass …… bet you can’t!
bear nativity.jpg

A Red Bull and Vodka please!

I was in town yesterday and over heard a fascinating snippit of a conversation about drinking. There were three teenagers, two girls and one boy, one of the girls said,
“I don’t know why I drink it really, it’s not that strong! But I like the taste!”
It was a great phrase to overhear on the day that the press (Times Article) picked up some of the stuff from the European Values survey and especially the amount that teenage girls are drinking. It’s such an indicative quote, the alchoholic strength is the most important component (either to the girl or to the peer group!)
It’s well worth reading the article, especially the stories of three teenage girls. The statistics are depressing!
Binge.jpg
The Times asks the question, “How do we deal with binge drinking?”
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Christmas Scattergories

If you’ve not come across Scattergories then let me fill you in. You give the “Subject” to a team and they have 2 minutes to get all 10 linked words, some are obvious some are a bit more lateral! Here’s an attempt to produce 6 with a Yuletide flavour!

 The Nativity

 Christmas Tree

 Christmas Day

Oxen
Jesus
Baby
Lowing
Shepherds
Myrrh
Stable
Crib
Star
Straw

 Tinsel
Needles
Fairy
Lights
Bucket
Baubles
Pine
Star
Chocolate
Decorations

Carols
Presents
Queens Speech
“The Sound of Music”
Turkey
Christmas Pudding
Crackers
Cake
Father Christmas
Stocking

 Carol Service

 Christmas Presents

 Advent

Church
Candles
Vicar
Pews
O come all Ye Faithful
Choir
Mayor
Mince Pies
As with Gladness
Carol Sheet

Socks
Wrapping Paper
Receipt
Chocolate
sellotape
Ribbon
Stocking
thank you letters
Bubble Bath
Gift tag

Shopping
Father Christmas
Mince PIes
Parties
Calender
Adverts
Wrapping
Family
Christmas Cards
Carol Singers

By the way, a survey in the Times today (quoting research from Sky) reckons that one third of people in Britain do not know where Jesus was born. Worringly, one in 10 Churchgoers also failed to identify Jesus’ place of Birth. This may make scattegories even more difficult!

Insecurity and the Hit Counter 2

OK, I’ve had the hit counter for exactly two months today. Long term readers will know I was concerned that Youthblog would be the web equivelant of the bargain book bin titles, such as “The Life of Warts” and “Canal Adventures in Shropshire.” Well the good news is that Youthblog has, to continue the metaphor, made the main bookshelves even though I reckon somewhere towards the back of the store near Poetry and Childrens books! It’s had over 2000 “unique” hits (distinct 24 hours apart) and over 4000 in total. I’m quite encouraged though and the Youthblog experiment will continue, Stay tuned!
Dec 15th Stats.JPG