Monthly Archives: December 2013

December 24: The unpredictability of divine revelation

Luke 2:9

Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

The appearance of the angels to the shepherds is a story which reminds me that encounters with God are unexpected, uncontrollable things.  I cannot offer Jesus to anyone as he is not mine to give.  I do not expect the shepherds were a particularly bunch, the were not making themselves open to God that night deliberately, they were not seeking after spiritual experiences.  The unpredictability of divine revelation and its utter grace should never be underestimated nor the fact that such revelations bring with them a mix of emotions: confusion and fear, joy and elation!

Today the TED video I am sharing is just about the unexpected and just a little bit of fun.  It is also a reminder that despite our best preparations things are not always in our control!

Just for the fun of it

December 23 Hearing the story afresh.

Matthew 1:18

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah* took place in this way. 

In what way did Jesus birth take place?  Looking at Matthew’s account alongside Luke’s account one would have thought they might have done a bit more cross checking before publication. The stories don’t easily align.  I wonder though is thus a problem?

Taking the words of scripture as some kind of literal historical truth is fraught with all kinds of difficulty not the least of which is we often don’t understand the context. Moreover, when we know a story so well (or at least we think we do) it is difficult for us to really listen to what is going on.

As we anticipate hearing hearing the stories of Jesus birth again I wonder how you can prepare to hear them  afresh.  Sometimes a new insight or a letting go of old assumptions can help.

This year I came across this TED talk about David and Goliath and was surprised by the insights… as you listen to this recount think to about what might be different or new in the birth narratives for you this year.


December 22 Words we live by

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I have been told on more than one occasion that people should not have a favourite piece of scripture.  On this matter I personally fail and these words of John 1:1 are it.  Given the limitations of our human minds I think holding a few phrases of scriptures treasured within us and within our lives can help us immeasurable with knowing God and taking heart that God is with us.

Besides this we know how much the little sayings we carry shape our whole lives, like little rules we carry with us everywhere consciously or not.  In this Soul Pancake video we hear some of the other sayings people live by and hold dear.

Take a moment to reflect on what the sayings are which shape how you live…

21 December The good and beauty in God’s creation

Psalm 96

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples. 

God’s handiwork surrounds and when God created God looked upon what God had done and said “It is good!”

Sometimes it takes some effort to see the good in the creation around us, we are required to stop and observe and maybe to look at things differently.

This Soul Pancake experiment takes us on a journey of discovery of the good and beautiful.

Where do you see beauty and the good in God’s creation?



December 20: Thanksgivng to God and each other!

Psalm 96

O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 

As Christians one of the most fundamental aspects of our faith is to express our thankfulness and gratefulness to God for all God has done.  We give thanks for the gift of life we have received and its renewal through Jesus Christ.  We give thanks for this wondrous creation and for the gift of each other.

In this Soul Pancake experiment the science of happiness is explored in connection with the expression of gratefulness.  Who are you grateful to?  Is now the time to get in touch and say thanks? Surely in honouring one another we honour God!

December 19: Greeting one another… giving compliments

Romans 1:7

To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s greeting ‘grace’ and ‘peace’ in its very essence is an act of reconciliation using the traditional Jewish and Gentile forms of greeting.  I suspect it is difficult for us to understand what response such a greeting might have evoked as it affirmed the Jewish and Gentile Christians in the early community.

More than that the notion of Paul speaking of the people as ‘beloved’ and ‘called to be saints’ built the people up in love and in hope.

Words of greeting and affirmation can bring transformation and joy into the lives of others.  This is demonstrated by Soul Pancake’s give a compliment  exercise.  It reminded me of various activities I have engaged in as a teacher trying to get students to speak positive words of affirmation to each other.  words which are not always easy to articulate or even receive!