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  • That was the year, that was...

    So here we are at the end of 2020, a year that will one day be the subject of history lessons even in primary schools.

    What follows is a bit of a ramble rather than a tidy reflection (a very long time ago, the subtitle of this blog was 'ramblings, reflections and rubbish', nothing much changes!)

    It has been a year when we all learned new words and new skills - who, a year ago had a clue what 'Zoom Church' might mean, let alone live-streaming prayers, virtual voting or a hundred and one other bizarre online things that we have all learned to do.

    It has been a complicated year, and for many a bewildering one.  There has been much sadness, far too many deaths, and so many  rule changes that even highly intelligent people are confused.

    It has been a year of unexpected blessings, of people able to join us for online church who couldn't get to physical church, of people discovering that they could read/pray online when it was too scary in person (and people discovering it was OK to step back after long years of faithful service).

    It has been a year of long walks and ludicrous numbers of photographs (I have taken around 10 thousand apparently!). A year of intentionality, of looking closely, of smelling flowers, listening to birdsong, savouring the early morning darkness.  A year of going no further than I can walk (at least from mid-March, and with the notable exception of two permitted trips for wedding services) yet walking further than ever before.

    It has been a year of long hours and long weeks, of phone calls and emails, of letters and cards, of unexpected kindnesses and surprise gifts.

    It has been a year in which the word 'hope' has recurred over and over and over again.  Sometimes a whisper, sometimes a shout. 

    It has been a strange year but, for me, it hasn't been a bad year.  As it draws to its close, as I return to work after a short break, and as I start to prepare for the next year, I look back on a year in which there was much joy, much goodness, much love, and for that I am extremely grateful.

    So, as the darkness of night deepens (it fell a while ago!) and as 2020 ebbs away, I have much to be thankful for, and much to ponder.

    This morning I renewed my subscription to this blog platform for another year, so, however erratic or sporadic, there will still be stuff here for a while yet.

    Thank you to those who have faithfully checked by, read this stuff and encouraged me to keep on blogging.

    Oh, the photo? It's one I took a couple of days ago, when it was cold and  frosty and gloriously sunny.  There is beauty everywhere, and this year I have come to value it more than ever.


  • Happy Christmas!

    So, the final items have been taken from the Bags of Blessing, the last envelope has been opened, and the day has arrived.

    Thank you everyone who shared our journey this year - may you encounter the wonder and discover the blessings of this special season.

    After today, I am annual leave for a few days, so no blogging in prospect - but I will be back to see in the New Year!

  • Christingle with a Twist

    It's tricky doing a Christingle virtually, so we took advantage of an idea from The Children's Society, to hold a 'Christingle with a Twist' - the twist being that we didn't make Christingles, but instead had a scavenger hunt to find something in our homes to represent...

    • the world (something round or travel related were suggestions)
    • love (something heart shaped or red)
    • God's gifts (suggestions included fruit, toys or pets)
    • Light (candles, torch or mobile phone were suggested)

    There was much ingenuity, and not a little laughter, and I, for one, had fun.

    Really grateful to those who joined us for their willingness to join in and make it work.

  • The Twenty-Second Blessing

    Today's gift was a tiny jingle bell - hindsight being a wonderful thing, I should perhaps have bought enough to put a few in each bag, or sought out something like the decoration in the photo, as one alone is a bit feeble in terms of jingling!

    Traditionally, bells ring out - often at midnight - to announce the birth of Jesus.

    And of course we all like songs about jingle bells on sleighs!

    Tonight at 6 p.m. (less than an hour after this is finally posted) there is the opportunity to take part on a world wide jingle... see more here

  • A Poem, A Picture and A Prayer - Day 18

    Today's poem is the well-known and well-loved BC:AD by the English poet U A Fanthorpe.

    The image is a library photo of a sculpture at St Martin in the Fields church in London, depicting the new born Christ, umbilical cord still attached... the raw humanity of incarnation.

    A little self-indulgent, since I love both the poem and the image, but it is the last day!

    So here's the last prayer of the series...

    God of 'Before Christ', before the 'Common Era', before time itself

    God of 'Anno Domini' - the 'Year of the Lord'- within the Common Era, here with us now...

    As this Advent season draws to its close,

    As, once more, w near the mystical moment that transforms history,

    Let us, with magi and shepherds, prophets and priests,

    With people we know and those we will never meet,

    Walk on through the darkness - however haphazard our path -

    And discover ourselves in the Kingdom of Heaven.