Tag Archives: christmas

What’s the worst Christmas present you ever received?

Christmas presents are a funny thing. Often we complain about having to spend money and time on getting people presents. Sometimes it can be an incredible feeling buying someone something you know they will love. Then there is the challenge of what to buy someone who doesn’t actually need anything. Sometimes we complain about getting stuff we don’t want or like. But then we’d also complain if we didn’t get anything when we expected something. Giving gifts is and can be a beautiful thing but too often gets sucked of the joy and beauty by the commercialisation all around us.

Sometimes the best presents don’t cost a lot of money.

Sometimes we do build up a collection of unwanted presents. What’s the worst present you’ve ever received?

I’m trying to remember. While I do check out some responses by a few Dubs on this video by Tearfund:

Sometimes the best presents are things given to others on our behalf like at advent conspiracy

What are the best or worst Christmas presents you have ever received?


The Party

The day of the party had arrived. It wasn’t a big affair, just a few friends and the odd neighbour coming for some Christmas drinks and hopefully some craic. The morning was spent finishing off the Christmas shopping, amidst the bustling hordes. Lunch was quickly downed with the knowledge that preparations for the evening needed to be made. Cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming the house seemed to take an age, and felt like gym workout. As the tidying progressed, dishes were done, dinner eaten, furniture moved, candles lit, and music chosen the house was transformed. When the last snacks and drinks were sitting on the table ready to be consumed, suddenly there was nothing left to do but wait for the first arrival. After the busyness and rushing around, the last minute trip to M&S, there was stillness. In the stillness, preparations made, we wondered who would come, how the night would go, would people get on? In the midst of the anticipation suddenly it dawned on me. This is advent. Waiting. Expectancy. Anticipation. An unexpected holy moment…


the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the nativity, the incarnation of Jesus..

It’s not something that the church tradition I grew up really made much of but something I’ve been discovering much more of in the last few years.

The onset of advent means the return of the marvellous mockingbird’s leap – a blog with the intention of helping develop the habit of being there to the world and noticing the grace that is present in each day.

Other advent delights include Divine’s dark chocolate advent calendar. And if you are sickend by the materialism, but growing weary of buying goats check out:

the nativity – scouse style

I eschewed church tonight for a night with my feet up hoping to enjoy some Top Gear, and was intrigued to see ‘Liverpool Nativity‘ on BBC3 – described as ‘the Christmas story live in Liverpool as you’ve never seen it before’. It was a powerful performance – imagining the nativity – so sanitised and well known in modern Liverpool. The Salvation Army band marching past playing Christmas carols as Mary and Joseph are abused, issues of asylum, national security, state control reminding us not of the lovely nativity, but of a couple who were outcasts, sleeping rough, baby in a shopping trolley. They did a great job of breathing life back into the nativity, reminding me of the shock and scandal of the coming of Jesus into the world. With the lovely nativity scenes (and even nativity snow globes on offer), we forget about the genocide, the killing of the innocents perpetuated by the ruler of the state, the scandal of a pregnant unmarried couple, their welcome by the outcast unreliable shepherds, by the foreign wise men, and the smell and shit in the animal pen. Into this God came.

Tonight reminded me how the nativity story speaks powerfully into today, how it challenges us on how we treat the outsider, the immigrant, the asylum seeker, the people society despise (the ones God chose to announce then coming of hope and light and life to). The ending was powerful with the city invited to hide the holy family from Herodias and welcome Jesus into their embrace...

[Wasn’t so sure about the use of Imagine by John Lennon that the ‘shepherds’ were singing before the angels came. Although maybe a depressing hopeless song interrupted by the coming of hope makes sense…]

Tonight a holy moment took root again.
I was also reminded again of this great poem from Stocki.

The Eternal focused on a moment
The Voice becomes a listener
The Word becoming flesh and bone
Close enough to whisper
The beyond the world’s comprehension
Moves right into the midst of her
Heaven stoops to touch the earth
Close enough to whisper
Close enough to touch her
Close enough to kiss her
Close enough to be broken
Close enough to whisper
For God so loved the world
He emptied Himself to visit her
Came down to walk beside her
Close enough to whisper
The Eternal focused on a moment
The Voice becomes a listener
The Word becoming flesh and bone
Close enough to whisper.