Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Pain

Well - what a surprise! After having boasted that this would be the first Christmas in three that I would not be in hospital, where should I end up but in hospital! Sadly, despite having been doing so much better recently, I had a relapse over Christmas which meant an emergency admission overnight on Christmas Day itself. Pancreatitis is a very vicious and painful disease, and doesn't seem to bother about the date on the calendar either.

My experience is not wasted, however, as it serves to keep a couple of 'home truths' before me. The first is that we can never boast of what tomorrow may hold, only that Someone much higher and wiser than us knows what is best. The second is that even in crisis God provides for the needs of His children. The nurse that received me in the Emergency Department is a member of our church and a dear friend. She held my arm and said comforting and helpful things to me as I trudged the foreboding corridors with a heavy heart. Beautiful decorations awaited me on my arrival on the ward, and the staff were so amazingly kind and understanding. Each of them was away from their family too in order to be able to serve me and others.

So - shades of the stable where Jesus was born in the most unexpected circumstances - yet God's plan was being fulfilled in His life. I have much more to learn yet, but I am comforted by the fact that God knows what He's about.

Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Road to Bethlehem is here again. It hardly seems like a whole year since the last presentation of this Christmas extravaganza with a cast of hundreds! Shades of Oberamergau! Only this time it is the Christmas story and not the Easter one that is being acted out by the cast, including the animals.

Last year 2,000 adults plus many more hundreds of children passed through the big tent and visited the mock-up of the manger scene. Scores of great conversations were had about the real meaning of the season, and lots of good contacts made. Above all, enchanted boys and girls were able to relive the first Christmas, minus the weather, and enjoy the thrill of knowing God's love for them.

So, we are praying for some fine days on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December, so that we can present this unique event again. After that, it's heads down for the Christmas rush!