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  • Alternative Christmas Carols (II)

    Thanks again to Peter Wyllie - and apologies for the formatting I have still to get to grips with HTML (.... one day....)


    Hark! The herald angels sing

    “Glory to the King of Kings.

    Peace on earth and mercy mild

    God and sinners reconciled.”

    Joseph’s looking slightly fazed

    Shepherds blinded, deafened, dazed.

    Kneeling in the soggy straw.

    Starlight shining through the door.


    Yes my Christmas cards are done;

    Don’t you think this season’s fun?

    Presents wrapped beneath the tree,

    (I do hope there are LOTS for me!)

    Joyful all ye nations, rise

    Join the triumph of the skies

    With angelic host proclaim

    Christ is born in Bethlehem.


    Christ by highest heaven adored

    Christ the everlasting word

    Late in time behold him come

    Offspring of the virgin’s womb.

    Tinsel stars hang from the light;

    Flashing reindeer in the night.

    I wish that I had bought some more

    They’ve covered all their house next door.


    Every year it is the same

    Commercialism is to blame.

    They simply hate to be outdone

    But it started as a “bit of fun”.

    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

    Hail the incarnate deity

    Pleased as man with man to dwell

    Jesus our Immanuel.


    Hail the heavenly prince of peace

    Hail the sun of Righteousness

    Light and life to all be brings

    Risen with healing in his wings.

    Can’t wait for Christmas Eve to come!

    With all my preparations done,

    Pour myself a Christmas sherry;

    ‘Tis the season to be merry!


    I want this Christmas to be smashing,

    My plastic’s taken such a bashing!

    So many things I had to get

    You simply can’t avoid the debt.

    Mild he lays his glory by

    Born that man no more may die,

    Born, to raise the sons of earth,

    Born, to give them second birth.


    Come Desire of Nations come

    Fix in us thy humble home

    Rise, the woman’s conquering seed

    Come and meet our every need.

    My world, my town, my street and me

    All need peace and liberty!

    Free to rest and worship him

    Who came on earth to conquer sin.


    Somewhere it all went astray

    Amid the tinsel on display;

    Amongst the crowds all spending madly,

    Even we lost Jesus, sadly.

    Let us Thee, though lost, regain

    Thee, the Life, the Inner Man;

    O! To all thyself impart

    Formed in each believing heart.


    Lord display your saving power!

    You’re not a baby any more.

    You’re a king upon a throne,

    Ever calling to his own.

    Calling to each wayward child

    “Come, today, be reconciled.”

    This is why you came to earth,

    Why you had a human birth.


    So Lord, this year, amid the noise

    Of TV shows and hi-tech toys,

    Let us find true peace and rest

    In the place that you have blessed.

    In that quiet place apart,

    Nestled in the Father’s heart.

    Let us hark the Angels sing,

    And worship you, our King of Kings.


    ©Peter Wyllie – December 2005 (& Charles Wesley)



  • Alternative Christmas Carols (I)

    With thanks to Peter Wyllie, book seller, sometime poet and visitor to this corner of the food court ...


    Away with the manger

    No crib and no bed

    No little Lord Jesus

    Just Santa instead.

    The stars on the Tele

    Sing songs for the poor

    And charity mail shots

    Beg me to give more.


    The reindeer are flying

    Across the night sky

    With a sleigh full of presents

    Wrapped up and piled high.

    I love it at Christmas

    With lights on the tree

    With gifts piled beneath it

    All labelled for me.


    The taxman is gloating

    And smiling with glee

    All Profit for him

    And no Prophet for me!

    Bless all the dear shoppers

    At this time of year

    The point has been lost now

    Forever I fear!

    © Peter Wyllie December 2006.

  • Tea and Cakes in Middle England

    As noted in my response to a comment on my last post, the interview with the EMBA ministerial development group ended happily.

    My friend from D+6 collected me and we set off down the motorway looking like startled rabbits, relieved we'd both thought it wise to wear a suit (at least neither of us would be the only one!), and talking about anything but the impending interviews.

    We arrived in Middle England to be greeted by another friend. whose church it was, to be told that all the male candiates (the morning session) had had a 'yes' and that there was really nothing to fear.  We tried to be reassured - largely failing!

    The actual interviews were a very affirming experience and we came out wondering why we'd worried - but sure that worrying had been a good thing anyway because this was real, they could have said 'no.'  Thank you, panel, for a positive and encouraging experience.

    The interviews over, we headed to a cafe for tea and cakes to celebrate, to compare notes and to unwind a little before heading back up the motorway with reduced blood pressure and smiling faces!  There was a sense of completion, that it was actually good to have faced a final 'check' at the end of the process, that the nervous energy had been usefully expended and that now, though in a sense nothing had changed, we were 'fully fledged.'

    Thank you Diane for your companionship not just today but on the journey to this 'place' - and I look forward to finding out what is around the next bend!  Thank you also to those who have shared other parts of the journey so far - without you there would not have been tea and cakes in Middle England.

  • Hoaxes, scams and urban legends

    I never cease to wonder at the things that get forwarded to me by well meaning folk who believe the AOL can detect messages on the umpteenth forwarding or that car jackers are waiting to leap out and grab handbags from the front seat of every unsuspecting woman who puts hers there while she removes a notice stuck to her windscreen!  DOS (denial of service, not disc operating system) emails are sent purely and simply to slow down the web - and to annoy me!  The use of forwards to everyone in your address book in the 'To:' or 'cc:' line is a great way to give people access to the email addresses they need to spam them too (use 'bcc' if you really must forward them to dozens of folk), and also for mean people to get viruses onto unprotected machines.

    Please, please, gentle reader, if you don't already do so, think about checking the next one out on www.hoax-slayer.com (or similar) before you forward it to everyone you know. 

    Thank you - now you've read this forward it to exactly zero people and absolutely nothing will happen to you!

  • Happy Birthday?

    Yesterday I was 9; today I am 3, tomorrow, all things being equal, I'll be born again (or from above?)!

    Or am I?  And will I?  And does it matter anyway?

    (And what on earth am I on about!)

    On 5th December 1997 I had one of those 'Damascus Road' type moments when I was surprised by God with a very clear, unambiguous call to ordained ministry.  Given the path that followed, it was as well it was that obvious, otherwise I might have given up many times over along the way.  My call, from 2 Timothy 4: 1 - 5 (God's very off beat humour), is something I return to often and always find the bits I didn't spot last time!

    On 6th December 2003 I was ordained - along with a mega sense of relief that finally some church somewhere recognised the call.  The passages chosen - Matthew 25: 31 - 46 and Matthew 28: 16 - 20 - continue to inspire and challenge me.

    On 7th December 2006 I will face my final interview with the EMBA Ministerial Development Group (Min Rec by any other name).  I am somewhat nervous about this, though people tell me I shouldn't be.  At the end of nine years of learning, growing, struggling, failing, trying, feeling inadequate, feeling excited, refusing to be discouraged, picking myself up from rejection and enjoying the moments when it all makes sense, if only for a moment, this interview marks the official 'end' of testing out the call to be a 'fully accredited Baptist minister.'  If it is confirmed then I get 'handshaked' next May!

    So should I be celebrating?  Does it matter?  I'm not honestly sure!  This week's Baptist Times has a helpful and thought provoking article on using the title 'Rev' or 'Revd' - and while I agree with it pretty much, I kind of like having something to show for all the slog!  I don't believe that there was an ontological or sacramental change in any of these stages/events but at the same time they must have some kind of significance that I remember them.

    One friend I shared this with said I sounded like Solomon Grundy - but I've yet to find out what happens on the 8th - 11th of December, or in what year!

    So Happy Birthday (9th, 3rd or 0th) or not, this week feels fairly significant - and in the meantime a real Happy Birthday to Sam L and Sophia W who both reach 4 years old this week (now that is scary!)