Archive | December 2020

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WHERE NEXT? (New Year 2021)

Julia and I are fortunate to live just across the road from the extensive grounds of the University of Reading (which is open to the public) with its wonderful lake, amazing trees, the Harris Gardens, the university library, bars, and eateries (which as students at the University of Winchester, we can also use), and even […]

PUTTING ON YOUR JANUS FACE (Between Christmas and New Year, 2020)

To be Janus-faced means possessing two different natures or characters. Often associated with being deceitful, two-faced, or insincere, it is important to note that the first definition of the term simply implies two characters which is not a negative attribute but simply a dichotomy – the ability to look in two directions at one and […]

THE UNTAKEN GIFT (Boxing Day 2020)

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day and is celebrated as part of the Christmas holidays. There are many reasons suggested as to why it was given its name. Here in the UK it was a custom for tradesmen to collect ‘Christmas boxes’ of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks […]


Very early one Christmas morning a small boy tiptoed downstairs. All night he had been dreaming of the gorgeously decorated Christmas tree groaning under the weight of presents. Imagine his shocked amazement at seeing none these things – just the same old furniture arranged in the same drab way. Yet there was a difference, an […]

AMAZING GRACE (Christmas 2020)

Leonard Griffith tells a remarkable story about a young doctor who had been ill for a long time. Physically he seemed to have recovered, but emotionally he remained in a slew of depression, and nothing could shake him out of it. He displayed no interest in his work, refused to see his friends, and just […]

SINGING THE MAGNA CARTA?! (Advent 4, 2020)

I recently came across a series of unintentionally humorous statements children had written in response to questions put to them in their Religious Education lessons in school. Here are a few of them: Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark. The Fifth Commandment is ‘Humour thy father and mother’. Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt […]

MARMITE (Advent 3, 2020)

Marmite … the food spread made from yeast extract … you either love it or hate it?  I love it! What on earth has Marmite got to do with Advent you ask? Well obliquely quite a lot … given that traditionally the theme for the Third Sunday in Advent is ‘The God Who Disturbs’ and […]


There was a lady in one of my previous churches who believed that I had a special ‘hot line’ to God – which of course I do – but so does every Christian! She was always coming to me and asking, ‘Do you have any word from the Lord for me?’ It actually became very […]