Christmas greetings my friends

Welcome to my Christmas [blog], I’d like to thank you for the year. So I’m sending you this Christmas card to say it’s nice to have you here

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Well my youth work bretherin and sisterin, I’m signing off for Christmas. I’ll actually be on-line very little as I have agreed a laptop sabbatical, this will mean my only access to t’internet will be through a darwinian fight with he rest of the tribe for access to the Desktop. (Scrabble nemesi take note)
I’m looking forward to the break enormously. Spending time with my family, Catching up with friends, time in the shed, Carols at Church, Cycling and watching “Muppets Christmas Carol”. I’m loving the fact that it’s a genuine full-on Dickensian White Christmas too, Nice!
Thanks for being part of Youthblog this year, I wish you a great Christmas filled with hope, peace and friendship! May your Cracker jokes be funny, your wonder be kindled and your Joy contagious as you celebrate the pivotal moment of all history, Merry Christmas!

christmas_tree_presents_lg_clr.gif “… To teach us humility all this was done,
And learn we from thence haughty pride for to shun:
A manger His cradle Who came from above,
The great God of mercy, of peace and of love.
Aye and therefore be merry, set sorrow aside,
Christ Jesus our Savior was born on this tide.”


And for anyone who wants to re-group via Youthblog in 2010, I look forward to bumping into you here from 4th January onwards for the usual malarky, youth work/ministry news and related musing. Shalom

Still Snow Bound

There was lots more snow over night and cars cannot get up the road. I’m trying to work out whether to make the four hour round trip to work by public transport or work from home.
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I’m leaning more towards working from home though as I’m shattered from last night. My eldest boy H was caught up in the chaos after a trip to Basingstoke yesterday afternoon with his special needs group. His carer and him eventually abandoned the car and caught trains back to Newbury. It took me half an hour to walk down to the station at 10:30pm, then nearly an hour to walk/propell/push him back home.

Full of slog

Musing on my lack of blogging, I came up with a re-rendering of “Time to Stop and Stare” (on the basis if you are going to offer a poor excuse at least deliver it creatively). My apologies to Willam Henry Davies …. and anyone who appreciates good poetry.
What is this life if full of slog
We have no time to stop and blog.
No time to post, and pose the how?
Or why, or if …. or just the now.
No time to blog the thoughts that pass
Or comment when a reader asks.
No time to see if someone’s right,
When pointing out our oversights.
No time to click and gently glance,
At other bloggers’ circumstance.
A poor life this, if full of slog
With no time left to stop and blog.

The Christmas narrative in Chocolate

Talking of chocolate (see previous entry), I remembered this talk that legendary youth worker (and now super-curate) Matt Stevens gave a few years back at Yellow Braces.
If you can afford the confectionery bill involved (and can be sufficiently tongue-in-cheek to pull it off) here it is:
A girl called Mary heard a WISPA, from an angel (wearing a HALO) who said that she would be the Mother of Gods son. But how could this be? She was not yet married to Joseph. To have a baby now would be a TOPIC of conversation in the village. Joseph also heard of God’s plan, but before the baby arrived, political events overtook them – Joseph had to return to Bethlehem for the census – it was miles away – a MARATHON (Snickers) journey, but Joseph thought the BREAK would do her good. When they arrived, Joseph tried to find lodgings, but CLUB after CLUB let them down – No room they all said. Eventually they were offered a little out house – it was
there that the little baby was born. He was named Jesus, which means Saviour. He was laid in a manger, lined with hay and STRAW (Sherbet straw!) That night, some shepherds, and DRIFTERS, heard TUNES in the sky. Glory to God in the Highest’. The shepherds decided to take a break (KIT- KAT) from looking after the sheep. Lets (GO?) and see what’s happening in Bethlehem. When they were there they found the TRIO, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, who was lying in a manger. It was not at all a NICE place; smelly and dirty – not really a fit place for a maternity ward. They were however UNITED in their wonder, they REVELled at the thought that this child was special. Could this be just as the prophets had foretold – was this the LION of Judah? It was getting late, AFTER EIGHT, in fact – so the shepherds returned to the hills – huffing and PUFFIN and singing praise to God as they went. Meanwhile in a far country, some SMARTIES, wise men were busily scanning the GALAXY, when they saw a star near the MILKY WAY. Was it MARS? No it was a special STAR (bar) – signalling the birth of a King. They travelled long and hard and reached Herod’s Palace – they were not embarrassed to HOBNOB with royalty. Herod was very interested – “A King has been born?” – He didn’t believe them and called theM ALL TEASERS, but just to make sure – he tried to FUDGE the issue by saying that he wanted to go and worship the baby – and told the wise men to report to him on their way back. The wise men travelled until the found Jesus and offered their BOUNTY, GOLD, frankincense, and Myrrh. Then God warned them in a dream that Herod was up to his TWIX again, seeking the child’s life. So they took the TIME OUT to return by another route. Now that’s the familiar story – the CLASSIC tale, told at Christmas. It has little to do with reindeer and FLAKES of snow and robins and a baby in a clean crib decorated with tinsel. The original story was not that NICE. Jesus was born a refugee, he was a threat, a danger – don’t miss the meaning. Jesus was born so that ALLSORTS of people might know God’s love for them. Many people are looking for meaning and purpose – some kind of REFRESHER in life – a BOOST in difficult times. The Christmas Story really is cause for CELEBRATION, Jesus is no MINATURE HERO!

bearing gifts

I put up various Christmas decorations at the office this morning including a little stone nativity set. A colleague asked if the random chocolates near the nativity were a kind of offering. A bit of blue tack later and the Wise mean are bearing gifts of Eclair, Creme egg and Fudge?
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I’m adding this to my list of worship tricks 😉

Diocese of Oxford Evangelism Fund

In 2010 it will be The Diocese of Oxford’s turn to apply to the Youth Evangelism Fund. This is access to up to £45,000
This fund is specifically “To help young people share their faith with their friends in ways that make sense to them”
Grants are between £200 and £2000 (but £3000 in exceptional circumstances) and need to be applications from young people for inititatives that impact young people.
This is a GREAT opportunity! If you are in the Diocese of Oxford PLEASE ask me for more details and get your group to explore what they would like to do.

Swapping Paint with the H

It was H’s birthday and what he wanted to do more than anything was to Go-Kart. We took part in an open session at Andover* and had a great time on the circuit with eight other people (a couple of blog readers included).
I was really proud of him: Only one spin, good awareness of others, as well as a canny ability to defend his position. My daughter and youngest son shot some video and we then animoto-ed it as a present.

*Full Marks to Andover who were utterly un-fazed by H’s disability and provided a great morning