January 2010

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

    18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

    19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

    20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.   (Luke 2  vv. 17 – 20)


Dear Friends,

I trust that you had a memorable and happy Christmas, although I am aware that for some it has been a difficult time.  I hope that through all the trappings of the Christmas season you have been able to grasp again the wonder of this amazing gift of his Son that God has sent us.  As we are further down the time line than those shepherds who viewed the Christ child, we are blessed to have more evidence of his significance and a clearer picture of God’s salvation plan for humanity.

The shepherds reaction was wonderful, for they “spread the word” and they glorified and praised God for all the things they had seen and heard which turned out to be exactly as prophesied.  It led to a public reaction of amazement.  The reaction today tends to be more one of cynicism and disbelief.  I was pleased to read Melanie Phillips’ column as she backed up the Archbishop’s attack on the Government for thinking that Christian beliefs are no longer relevant and making the assumption that religion was “an eccentricity practised  by odd-balls, foreigners and minorities”.  We have seen this year a number of hostile attacks on sincere Biblical beliefs and the passing of laws which seem to assume that religion is anti-reason, anti-science and anti-freedom.  Many seem to forget that God’s created orderly universe has been the life blood of scientific investigation, that human rights and democracy stem from the belief that we are made equal in the image of God and that we owe much to the Biblical moral framework for our ordered society. 

We need to pray that Christians with strong influential voices will be heard and that we also become stronger in our beliefs. Pray that the work God has mercifully and graciously done in our lives will be a light giving direction to our muddled wayward society and that our resolutions this year will be to live Christ centred lives that challenge others and that we pray without ceasing that the power of God’s Spirit will be mightily at work amongst us.

Whether you are “spreading the word” or pondering these things in your heart, may God bless and strengthen you this year, as together we discover what God wants to do through us. 

I wish you all a Happy New Year and a wonderful time of God’s blessing.


With my love,



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