Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

A gift with no words

Posted: December 17, 2018 in Christmas, faith, life, music, prayer, quotes, religion, words
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This is not specifically a Christmas post, but as we’re thinking about presents and gifts a lot at this time of year, it seemed applicable to share this photo.

Many times I’ve found myself unable to find the words I want, when I pray. However I can always find some music which perfectly fits both my mood, and expresses the words I am unable to say.

Don’t dismiss music as a means of worship or a means or prayer, because music can so often express what’s in our hearts, even when we’re unable to vocalise those words.

Here’s one of my favourite Christmas songs, Hallelujah (Light Has Come) by Barlowgirl

When you think of the advent season, what do you think about?

  • Christmas Day
  • The birth of Christ
  • God’s love
  • Those less fortunate than you

Mother Teresa summed up the advent season well when she said this

At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.

Yes during advent we must love others, can I ask you to extend that period, so that all year round others.

You may already have seen or heard about this but it’s so lovely I wanted to share it with you all incase you hadn’t seen it.

A story appeared on the BBC website a few weeks ago about a primary school teacher who loves Christmas. However this year she’s asked her pupil not to give her any gifts, but instead asked that a donation could be made towards supplies for the local food bank.

The teacher said she was always “totally overwhelmed by the kind and thoughtful gifts” from her pupils, but feels gifts were unnecessary. There’s a huge demand on the local food bank particularly during the winter months, so isn’t it fantastic that she’s asked that any money parents would have spent on a gift for her, be put towards supplies for the food bank. She also has spoken to the children to explain to them why she’s asking for donations for the food bank – “I sat down and chatted to the pupils about it and explained that Christmas is a time for giving and said it would be nice to do something for somebody else.” – What a great thing to do!

This is such a great reminder to us all that this time of year is not just about receiving gifts, but also giving to others, particularly those in need.

Here’s the link to the full story:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-46399857

 

Just today, there’s another news item on BBC about a school in Wales where they’ve made a request that no gift are given to teachers, but instead a donation is made to a charity:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46489219

As many of you will be aware I’ve been off work on sick leave for a number of weeks. As I’ve been unable to do very much I’ve found myself watching TV programmes which I wouldn’t normally watch. What I’ve noticed though in the last two or three weeks is that the focus of the adverts in between programmes has changed – Not only it is now adverts about Christmas, Black Friday deals and bargains but nearly every second advert is one highlighting either people or animals in need of our help by giving a donation to their charity.

While I understand that charities need the public to donate to them so they can continue their work, but really, does there need to be quite so many of these adverts on all day, it really is very depressing. Please don’t think I don’t care about these charities, as that’s not the case – it’s depressing for two reasons:

  • No matter how much I may want to give to each and every charity, there’s no way I can support them all, but they all have an uncanny way of making me feel guilty if I don’t donate!
  • The adverts highlight just how much need there is in this world, and how many awful people there are who are cruel or abusive to people and animals.

Each of these adverts show shocking images of children, adults and animals who’ve been abused or neglected – All designed to pull at our heart-strings and persuade us to donate to their cause. How I wish this world was a better place where no one is abused, homeless, alone, or hungry.

So while these charity adverts are a hard watch, and make me feel guilty, it does remind me of all those who are far less fortunate than I am.

If each of us could give what we can to the charities/causes that we feel are most in need of our help, we can make a difference, and help make this world a better place.

The most meaningful presents we receive might not come wrapped in shiny paper or frilly ribbons. They are often the ones that lift your spirit, brighten your day or trigger your imagination.

I’ve been curious what others consider to be their ‘best gift’ so have been looking at other people’s stories about their ‘best gifts’, so here’s one I want to share with you.

Sometimes a gift may be a just what we always wanted.

Sometimes that always wanted gift will be the only always wanted gift you’ll ever receive, so cherish it and keep that memory special.

It seems like only a few weeks ago it was Christmas 2017 and we were heading into 2018, so how are we nearly half-way through August already!

I know some say that time seems to pass quicker the older we get.

I’m not sure I necessarily agree with that, as I think it’s just that everyone is so busy these days that our days go by much quicker than they used to.

In a time where technology allows us to communicate with others 24/7, keep up to date with news and events both home and abroad throughout the day and night, is it any wonder we all find ourselves living busy lives?

It’s always at the back of my mind though that there are so many people who don’t have any family or friends to call on, or talk to.

Isolated, alone and feeling like no-one cares about them.

Isn’t it time we start to care about everyone in the community?

It’s our responsibility as neighbours, colleagues, friends, to look out for those who have no-one else.

I therefore challenge you today to be the person who makes a positive difference in someone else’s life today – Will you take up my challenge?

The most meaningful presents we receive might not come wrapped in shiny paper or frilly ribbons. They are often the ones that lift your spirit, brighten your day or trigger your imagination.

I’ve been curious what others consider to be their ‘best gift’ so have been looking at other people’s stories about their ‘best gifts’, so here’s one I want to share with you.

My most meaningful Christmas gift was when I received my Jesus stocking. My mother-in-love gave my family a stocking with the name “JESUS” written across the length of it. Each year on Christmas morning my family writes a letter to Jesus and puts it into the stocking. This is a tradition my husband and his family have been doing since he was a little guy. They have yet to open and read any of these letters, but they are a constant reminder each year as we begin to decorate our tree and wrap our presents that the greatest gift we have is Jesus. This gift has guaranteed my family will take time to focus on the Lord during the holiday season.

Isn’t it amazing how a simple gift can completely change someone’s life for the better. This person ended up finding their passion because of the gift. What a great gift!

Festive TV

Posted: January 6, 2018 in Christmas, New Year, television
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So Christmas is now a distant memory. You’ve made lots of new year resolutions, some of which you’ve maybe already broken! You’ve returned to work and are already counting down the days to your next time off.

But let’s go back to the Christmas and New Year period, and let me ask you this one question…

Personally I wasn’t very impressed – There were lots of repeats, the same old programmes, with very little new offerings. It was so poor I can’t really give you a single programme that stood out for me, it was so bad!

Let’s hope 2018 TV programmes are better.

I’ve done a few Word Associations with you, and today, as the title of this post suggests, this word association is all about New Year and what it means to each of us. So as usual I’m going to throw some words at you  and I want you to note down the first word that comes into your mind when you read each word.

So here goes…

  1. Midnight
  2. Door bell
  3. Countdown
  4. January
  5. Annual leave
  6. Steak pie
  7. Scotland
  8. Snow
  9. Decorations
  10. Over-eating

So how did you get on with those words? Did you find it easy? Did your answers surprise you or were they just as you expected?

Well here’s my responses to my questions:

  1. Bells
  2. First footing
  3. …to Christmas!
  4. Sales
  5. End of January
  6. Dinner
  7. Shortbread
  8. Sledge
  9. Boxes
  10. Stuffed

Were any of your answers the same as mine? Did any of my answers confuse you? Did any of your own answers confuse you?

I’ve said in previous word association posts that I find I get a bit stressed when I’m doing them as I put a lot of pressure on myself not to over think my answers! Are you relaxed when you do them or do you find it stressful too?

I still believe that when we respond with the first words that come into our minds, our answers tell us a lot about our emotional state, and what’s important to us at that particular point in time.

Bearing all this in mind, review your answers, does my theory hold true?

I chose some words we probably all associate with New Year as well as some that I suspect if you’re not Scottish, you won’t understand (including some of my answers), maybe it’s time to find out a bit more about our Scottish New Year traditions!

On Monday we celebrated the birth of Jesus. That was such great news over 2000 years ago when Jesus was born, but is it still good news today in 2017?

Most of us will have celebrated Christmas is some way over these last few weeks, whether it was spending Christmas Day with your family, going out to an office party, giving or receiving gifts, carolling or attending a church carol service, going for lunch with your work colleagues. But on Christmas Day, did you take some time to celebrate the good news that Christ is alive?

Good news, great joy for all
Melody breaks through the silence
Christ, the Saviour is born!