These two cartoons by the wonderful Michael Leunig really speak this Christmas.
May you have a blessed time. Love and prayers,
Images courtesy of Michael Leunig
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christmas, christmas service times, christmas services, St Bede's, st bede's brandwood
Our Christmas Services at St Bede’s start this Sunday 18th December with the CANDLELIGHT CAROL SERVICE at 6pm. This is followed by mince pies and mulled wine.
Our CHILDRENS CAROL SERVICE is on Christmas Eve at 4pm.
We’ll have a Scratch Nativity – please come dressed up!
This is a short service designed for excited little ones.
MIDNIGHT MASS starts at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve
EUCHARISTIC FOR CHRISTMAS MORNING at 11am on Christmas Day.
You are welcome at any or all of these.
Prayers for you at Christmastide
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christmas, christmas journey, fr dolling, ifakara bakery, joe williamson, prayer, spirituality, urban ministry
My first day at school stands out clearly in my mind. A crust of bread and a kiss was my breakfast as I ran across the road to St Saviour’s, at the age of five. When I got to school, there was placed before me a white mug of hot milk and a bun; it looked very big. I couldn’t believe it was for me. I looked up, and there was a big fat man in black, with a funny hat looking down at me. He had a big face with a double chin; he was smiling; it was a lovely face. The man put his hand on my head and said, simply: ‘Eat.’ That was Father Dolling, and I think I have felt that touch ever since.
– Father Joe, The Autobiography of Joseph Williamson of Poplar and Stepney
This is a good passage to reflect on. Where do we receive the things that feed us so deeply? Can we make sure we see them and don’t overlook them? What do they say to us? How can we be people who do this to others? Giving with such humanity.
If you want to be involved in feeding people in a way that really builds up, I heartily recommend the Free Bread Project connected to the excellent Ifakara Bakery in Tanzania. Click here for more information.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christmas, holy innocents, malcolm guite, poetry, prayer, refugees
Malcolm Guite’s Advent Book ‘Waiting on the Word’ is a fantastic companion through Advent and Easter. This poem and reflection, for Holy Innocents Day, speak so much to the journey we have been making together recently
The poem from my Anthology Waiting on the Word reflects on the fact that today, the fourth day of Christmas, is the feast day of the Holy Innocents. It is the day the Church remembers the story, told in Matthew’s Gospel of the appalling cruelty and wickedness of Herod in ordering the massacre of innocent children, in a bid to protect his own power-base. Appalling, but only too familiar. What Herod did then, is still being done by so many present day Herods. This scarred and wounded world is the world into which Jesus was born, the world he came to save, and amongst those brought by his blood through the grave and gate of death and into the bliss of Heaven are those children of Bethlehem who died for his name without ever knowing him. But he knows them, as he knows and loves every child in Syria…
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Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christmas, christmas journey, hospitality, pilgrimage, pilgrims, poetry
We’ve been using this traditional poem from Mexico as a basis for some of our Christmas reflection:
“Who knocks at my door so late?”
“We are pilgrims without shelter and we want a place to rest.”
“Go somewhere else. Don’t disturb me again!”
“But the night is very cold. We have come from afar and are very tired.”
“But who are you?”
“I am Joseph of Nazareth, a carpenter. With me is Mary, my wife, who will be the Mother of the Son of God.”
“Then, come into my humble home, and welcome! May the Lord give shelter to my soul when I leave this world!”
I love the observation of one of the children I shared it with in school:
They only let them in when they knew it was Mary and Joseph.
Let’s pray for to see with the eyes and heart of God, to have practical compassion for all who need it.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Advent, Advent journey, big fun in a tiny pueblo, camino, Camino de Santiago, Christmas, pilgrimage, rebekah scott
There is a very good piece by my friend and fellow pilgrim Rebekah Scott here about the plans that the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago have to restore the Way to something that is holy and down to earth and which does not eat itself. I recommend reading it, especially if you are a pilgrim.
It speaks a lot to me about the Advent Journey we’ve been on. About taking care. Looking for what is important. Holding onto it for dear life. Loving passionately. Doing justice. Looking for God in other people. Respecting the earth.
Advent finishes tomorrow night as we move into Christmas. There is a calm for me before the wonderful chaos of Children’s Carol Services and Midnight Masses. Let’s carry on walking together and see what Christmas brings.
The unexpected and unlooked for is so often the best.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christmas, John of the Cross, Thomas Merton
Happy Christmas to you all.
The Advent Calendar is now complete
The Crib in Church has been blessed (and the Scratch Nativity at Brandwood may have been the only one to have included the Cat in the Hat in the characters).
Here are three quotations which have been in my mind as I have prayed my sermons for tonight and tomorrow:
There is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it (unknown author)
Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love (St John of the Cross)
Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of humankind for it is the image of God (Thomas Merton)
May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child this Christmas and for evermore.