Skip to main content

Beautiful Christmas..

As some of you know this is the time of year where I struggle most living in an estate. The vast amounts of house bling that vomit itself onto the front, rear and any other aspect of local properties, betrays a deeper struggle.

Everyday I see people getting off the bus with burgeoning bags. In school, students are exchanging cards and gifts at an alarming rate. The man in the red suit riding on a sleigh has a busy night in Marsh Farm. The reality is, that in February many gifts will be taken away again: this time by men in black suits driving BMWs. The loan sharks often are the real beneficiaries of an estate Christmas.

Sadly the reality is also that Christmas, with all its excesses, will bring violenece and strife. More than just the office party fights- Christmas here means a rise in domestic violence levels, in child abuse and who knows what else.

I struggle with the whole thing on most occasions, asking how could the celebration of the coming of Christ have become this. Shouldn't we just disown it as Christians?

BUT this year something has challenged me.

Its been brewing in my heart for a few weeks but came to a focus when I went to see my school show. After the resounding success of the original run the kids put on one more show. They were amazing. I am so proud to be part of a school community that has so much talent.

They then went on to sing a song to the head teacher. I nealry winced, but then the Head nailed what was actually going on. She said, "not only are you incredibly talented, you are incredibly generous of spirit".

Thats what the estate has- generosity of spirit. People want to give. In my time here people have given without question. They have been so generous to me. And it is a huge challenge to me. To see through my asthetic hang ups, through my middle class concerns and to receive the generosity of my community. After all- the same Jesus who we celebrate at Christmas is the Jesus who celebrated a prostitute pouring perfume on his feet.. the poor you will always have with you.. what she has done will be remembered.. she has done a beautiful thing.

Praying this Christmas will be beautiful.

Comments

Linda-Joy said…
Jude - can I use your fantastic essay on the 24-7 website again? Sorry but all the people I've asked to write christmas devotionals aren't doing it!!! :)

Popular posts from this blog

NO MORE MAGIC BULLET- or why I have stopped watching the West Wing

I love the West Wing. It still rates as one of the most well informed and influential series of the genre. Its speeches have been stolen by people who have osmosed its hope for a better way of doing politics. When we watch it today it holds a very particular kind of resonance because it demonstrates a civility that has been drowned in a sea of hate. It has positive images of a wrestled out faith, is rich with camaraderie and pith and is just good telly.
But its bad for me. 
It pains me to admit this, but the West Wing makes me think I can change the world in a way that is simply not helpful. 
It holds out the present hope that the world can turn on a single conversation. With the brave statement or right turn of phrase one might change the debate, and in turn might change the world entire. The moment in the Oval where they realise that if they take no credit they can save social security. The moment where Donna remembers to pay welfare payments. The realisation that all the NATO people a…

Oxpresidentgate and a Crisis of Generosity

Its been an interesting start to the year for the third sector. As we all get to grips with GDPR (more later), we have been subject to increased media attention as first we reeled from President’s Club revelations to the far deeper impact of this week’s revelations about Oxfam (and others).
There is much that can be written. Undoubtedly there are some in media and politics who will seek to exploit the 1/3 of us who don’t think aid should be sent overseas to change policy off the back of bad behaviour by some people. We could face a drop in giving to international development, as supporting Oxfam is no longer seen as acceptable (like buying a plastic bag). I suspect this will recover at some point, possibly in different form.
However, there is a deeper moral crisis for third sector organisations and my fear is that Christian charities are not immune.
To explore this let me go back a month. The President’s Club- where charities were set to receive significant amounts of money from an…

A very dull post about what I do with my time...

Each year I take a calendar month and record what I do in it. I break each day into twenty minute chunks and note down what happens in each twenty minute block. I don’t do the same for designated Sabbath time (nor do I note each bit of time outside of the beginning and end of a working day, no-one needs to know how long I clean my teeth for).
I categorise each thing that I do (an imperfect science) with a view to getting a handle on what I do with my time. 
This year I did the audit in November (as clergy I always avoid doing this in Lent, Advent or August). 
So- what did I discover?
I work around 55 hours a week. (thats up one hour from last year) That work is spread over five and a half days. The only sabbath day that was interrupted by work was about processing a painful meeting.  Of 26 working days, I worked 12 evenings.
In terms of what I do:
In November 17% of my time was taken up with prayer, reading and learning. Thats a slightly false read as I had a 48 hour away time in there. Prayer…