Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas and beyond

Paul ChapmanThe beautiful Christmas stories, while undoubtedly apocryphal, illuminate some of the basic truths about Jesus.  He was born of poor parents in oppressed and marginal circumstances; yet, he was honored by both poor shepherds and established wise men alike.

The story also reveals that Jesus was born in a troubled and violent land: The Roman Emperor Augustus required that all the world must register, presumably to be taxed by the Roman occupiers. Mary’s Magnificat reveals the injustice of the time and she dreams of a total transformation, in which, by God’s strength, the powerful are brought down from their thrones, the rich are impoverished, the whole social order is overturned... read more

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Merry Christmas one and all

AlternativityRecently at a meeting in the school my boys attend, the head teacher said, “A third of the families at this school will miss meals in order to buy the latest toy for Christmas.” And suddenly all my constructed notions of living in a happy, multi-cultural, wealthy neighbourhood went kaleidoscopic. Suddenly I realised that having and not having are the weapons of the playground and that Christmas is the battleground. As for children, so for the adults, although perhaps more subtly... read more

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It’s better to light a candle……

candle “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” The ancient Chinese proverb has a lot to say to us in the long nights and dark days of this Advent season. And it’s a choice that those of us who live in what are sometimes labelled ‘priority areas’ know only too well: sitting often, alone or with our friends and neighbours, in situations that feel a lot like Psalm 23’s ‘valley of the shadow of death’, sometimes ‘cursing the darkness’ feels like all we can do; but often, if we have the strength and enough hope, we try to work out what we can do together to ‘light a candle’ or two... read more

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