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Article

December 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Truth, lies and Santa Claus: What shall we tell our children about Father Christmas?

It’s not a problem now. Our children are that bit older. But for years we had to threaten them with dire penalties as Christmas approached. They mustn’t say it. They mustn’t even hint at it. Whatever anyone said to them, they mustn’t let it slip. They don’t believe in Santa. I well remember the…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Comment

Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

Vote for the least-worst candidate, and pray Depending on your point of view, the last few years have either seen parliamentary democracy at its best, or its worst. Whatever view you take on that, we are nevertheless privileged to live in a democracy. Let’s not give in to the cynicism and apathy which blights…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’

Outside the snow has just fallen. It looks so lovely and white when it first falls to the ground. But I can also see that it is not pure on the street, for it mingles with the dirt and grime and becomes a mushy mess. Many years ago, a young lady saw in her…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The trashing of truth

‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’, wrote George Orwell. Nearly 75 years ago Animal Farm was published. Famously, its author, George Orwell, believed that real liberty must involve the freedom to call out lies. We live now in an age…

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Historical

December 2019
Articles > Historical

Arthur Stace: ‘Mr Eternity’

As we approached the new millennium in December, 1999 there were concerns that computer systems would crash, causing mayhem around the globe. Some feared that it may usher in the end of the world. The first pictures from a new year generally come from Sydney, Australia. The new millennium in 2000 was no exception.…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Christmas jumpers

What would Christmas be without Christmas trees, Christmas dinner, Christmas carols, Christmas cards or, more recently, the Christmas jumper? Christmas gives us the opportunity to wear clothes we would never normally be seen dead in. What other time of the year would we wear to work an elf’s outfit or a jumper which lights…

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Historical

December 2019
Articles > Historical

Children’s champion

With Barnardo’s 330 charity shops, 400 social projects and care of thousands of children, most readers will be familiar with that name. But who was Tom Barnardo, founder of this remarkable charity begun in 1867? ‘A bit of all sorts’ was Tom’s own description of himself as he thought of the blend of Spanish,…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Evangelistic

Light in the darkness

One of the saddest days of my life was the day of my father’s funeral. It was a dark, drizzly and murky winter’s day. The weather outside seemed to mirror our mood inside. We had a service in church, giving thanks for my dad’s life, and then went to the cemetery to bury him.…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Evangelistic

Star of wonder

The Gospel of Matthew records how wise men came from the east to the land of Israel to search after the King of the Jews. The wise men were led to Jerusalem and then Bethlehem by a bright star in the sky. We don’t know exactly how far east the men had come from,…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Evangelistic

Joy to the world

The birth of Jesus Christ is the greatest reason for joy in the history of the world. Today people all over the world are seeking true and lasting joy. It was the same in the first century. The night Jesus was born, an angel appeared to some hill shepherds and announced, ‘I bring you…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > General

Prepared for Christmas? But how ready is your heart?

Some people are smug about being prepared early for the biggest public holiday in the year: Christmas time. There are people who, at the time of writing (early October), have already made their puddings, prepared their fruit for the cake, bought their presents, made their lists and started the wrapping. I know: I am…

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Article

December 2019
Articles > Evangelistic

A lonely Christmas and a miserable New Year?

‘I hate Christmas’ John responded. I felt guilty. I had been making small talk with him before I departed to see my next patient (I see patients in their own homes). I should have remembered that he had no family, at least none in regular contact. I might have noticed that not only did…

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