A different kind of nativity?

We had the Christmas play at church the other day, we even had wise men in a vw and a camp Christmas tree, it was hilarious yet called irreverent by some… Then on the Sunday we had a more traditional telling of the story through bible verses and a film.

It made me think more about that nativity story.

But scrap every nativity story you’ve ever heard or seen.

And think of how you’d want someone to appear to you if they were to save you.

Maybe it’s a bit like superman? Someone flying through the sky, rescuing you out of that burning building, bringing you to safety…

Or perhaps you’re more of an incredibles guy? You want a big strong superhero that can hold everything back from hitting you.

Or maybe you want a mighty warrior to come, with the powers to remove all the bad in your life and in the world…

Think of those as a nativity story. Your little girl, not being an angel or a star… but being superwomen shooting through the sky. No donkey, no stable, but a mansion, a sports car, a mighty warrior, a person that pulls you out of the wreckage but then leaves you and you’re not quite sure what happened. You just really hope they’ll turn up when you’re next in trouble.

As you know, that’s not what happened. That natiivity set you dig out every year doesn’t display any knight in shining armour, or spiderman on the roof, or batmobile parked outside.

It displays a baby in a manger.

How does that even work? God, in a manger, in a stable, in Bethlehem, born through an ordinary girl. No one special. Nowhere special. How does that make sense?

What does that baby in a manger show us?

Here is God, completely humbled, coming into our world just as we did, living in this world alongside us, walking those dirty streets, doing an everyday 9-5 job, and being born in a stable!

How does this tell us how we can approach God? And how God wants us to approach him?

If you see a baby aren’t you drawn to it? Doesn’t it capture you’re attention? A new born baby, aren’t you somehow even in awe at it? You certainly wouldn’t be scared of it, if you’re anything like me you’d be completely captivated by it, wanting to hold it, wanting to get closer to it.

And this is how God comes into our world, as a baby, someone we can hold, someone that grows up just like we do, someone that is gonna live in this world just like you have. This is someone we can relate to, who wants to relate to us.

Heaven came down to earth that day, but not in a way that we would have imagined, but in a way that we can understand. There was no superhero saving then disappearing, there’s a baby coming to live with us, to save a people to himself for eterntity, to be with us throughout all our days.

“I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10&11)

 

We sang this song at church the other day and it completely displayed for me what happened in the nativity story. Just take a look at these lyrics…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kciHHQL5tFY

End of Term

Going to finish the term with Christmas dinner today! But before I stuff myself so full that I can’t think, I thought it would be good to reflect a little on the term just passed.

Looking back, thinking about Relay One, Forum, freshers weeks, Tranformission, weekend away, seminar leading, team days, Truro CU, study, mini events week, 1 to 1’s, carol services and my own supervision… there’s a lot to have taken in!

God has been teaching me and still is teaching me so much. It’s an ongoing journey, but if I was to pick out one thing that I am learning more and more it’s to Trust Him. We can call on him for the minutist and the biggest of things. Nothing is insignificant to him. There isn’t anything that he doesn’t care about or that he doesn’t have in his hands.

My favourite passage this term has been Jesus’ baptism.
 
I’m learning that God cares about every single part of my life. We are his children and he is saying over us exactly what he said over Jesus at his baptism.
 
“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”
 
This gets me everytime, because of Jesus we can have that standing before God. He came down into our filth so we can be in his family.
Isn’t that something amazing to celebrate! In all the mad Christmas rush, we can think about that baby in a manger, humbled before our very eyes, coming down to give us life and bring us back into relationship with the Father.
 
As I look to the term ahead, I can see places that I can improve and things that I need to and want to work on, but I know I can rest assured knowing that I can come before God as his child and nothing is going to lessen or greaten his love for me.
 
I wonder what next term holds…
 
And for now, I go to the cold of the north tomorrow! I’m really looking forward to Christmas holidays at home and catching up with friends and family!
 
So Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all have a restful and enjoyable time!
 

Real Life?

I was sat in Starbucks for a few hours writing a talk the other day. There was a table near me that was proving a popular table, as soon as someone left then more people chose it as their table. Yet I think I heard, at the most, 5 sentences exchanged between the 4 different pairs of friends that came and sat there.

But the amount of sentences written on their phones was non stop. I genuinely couldn’t believe these people going for coffee to just then sit on their phones. Who are they really socialising with? Surely that isn’t going for coffee??

How much of your life do you spend online? And is it really ‘real’ life?

How much do we disappear into our phones, looking at fb, twitter or blog posts, seeing what is going on in the world, communicating with people everywhere and in that being distracted from the person you are actually with.

And what is it that we are actually putting online about ourselves? Is it true of who we are or are we creating an image that we want others to see of us rather than our real image?

I was challenged the other day when I listened to a talk that said if the thought of giving up social media for a month is something you couldn’t do, then you’re putting something of God in it. You’re letting the wrong thing control your life. And truthfully, the thought of giving up social media for a month does freak me out…

I think it makes us feel something of sovereign, it makes us feel like we know so much about so many different people and topics. It makes us feel connected to people near and far, in constant communication. It’s turned into the first and last thing I check each day.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not all bad. I could produce an endless list of good things about it… It’s great for being in contact with friends and family near and far, for organising things, for learning a lot about different topics that people are posting about, for making connections you couldn’t normally. But what is it about it that hooks people in so much? How has it become such a major part of people’s lives in realistically a really short amount of time?

And is it not only taking over lives but actually creating a double life?

I think we need to think about, not necessarily how much we share, but what actually are we sharing it for? How are we using social media as part of our real life?

And not ignoring the people in direct contact with you at the time… (which I definitely am guilty of…)

 

I listened to a great talk with Tim Chester on using social media to enhance, not replace relationships the other day. Check it out here… I would definitely recommend a listen. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/hour-revival-evangelists-podcast/id626198781

(And this is ironically posted on social media I know!)

Don’t you just love Christmas!!

It’s definitely nearly Christmas!! Although I’ve only seen frost twice yet… that’s the tropics of Falmouth!

I’m sat with fairy lights and candles making the most of the wintery feeling, all I need right now is a Starbucks gingerbread latte…

I have to say Christmas is just ever so exciting with students… maybe it’s because they finish on the 6th December, so Christmas indeed starts at the beginning of November! You definitely get double the Christmas! I may have already had 4 Christmas dinners…

It also involves lots of Christmas events with the CU! We had a Christmas meal with around 100 students, where many heard about the hope God gives, and we have some students who want to meet up and chat more about this and look into the bible with someone next term! The room was decked with candles, confetti, crackers, snowflakes and all things Christmassy! With us having a free meal every term then they are always well attended and many always come to a fabulous full Christmas dinner to finish the year.

We also had a carol service where we had many talented CU members in a band and had the fabulous Viva Voce choir from the university perform too. We invited them last year to come along and then they contacted us to ask if they could do the same this year! We also had a great talk on the historical, beautiful, indispensable Christmas. We had about 80 people there and everyone received a Luke’s gospel to take away with them. They’re part of the Uncover project check it out here… http://uncover.org.uk/

Christmas teams days were a joy too! It’s always great to meet with the rest of the team in the south west, have some teaching, eat together and catch up on the past month. On the train on the way home I also had a lengthy conversation with a guy about what the CU is and does, what it means to have a relationship with God and to experience his presence and I gave him a Luke’s gospel too. I’d put one in my bag just incase I ended up talking to someone on the train and there the opportunity came!

And our last Christmas themed prayer breakfast was so well attended and great fun! Check out this photo… it breaks all stereotypes of students sleeping all morning!

2013-12-06 08.49.04-2

Christmas Prayer breakfast! (7:30-9am)

I’ll be back home in a week and I’m looking forward to catching up with people and having my first Christmas where it’s actually a holiday and I don’t have course work to do!

Christmas is such a great time to share about what it means for God to come down and be with us. So take this opportunity! And enjoy all the Christmas festivities!!

And on a slightly different Christmas note, if you want to check out a great 3 minute Christmas video on Christmas in dark places, then definitely give this a watch…