Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Tradition...

Thought it would be good to share a few images from the Christmas Day Dinner we held at Zac's Place. We hosted around 25 friends from the local community - many street homeless, others in housing crisis. Our thanks to all those that helped on that day and boxing day to these special times of 'belonging' - it was a precious time indeed.

It is also a time when we remember that the first invited guests on the scene at the birth of Christ as a baby were 'shepherds' - they probably had no voting rights and were not trusted enough to give evidence in court. We consider this kind of deliberate inclusion, a tradition worth continuing. Below are some pics of some of the most famous people I know - famous because God talks about them all the time.

My thanks to everyone who has supported, shown interest and added to the Zac's Place chaos over this past year - my love and prayers for God's blessing and peace into this new year.
(We continue to provide breakfast on weekday morining in partnership with The Wallich and also provide a hot meal on thursday evenings for Swansea's rough sleepers - volunteers always wanted!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

In Haste

Only seems like yesterday was travelling back from the heat of Australia, but was actually weeks ago. After several weeks of multiple sickness in our household am now getting stuff together for the additional meals for the homeless on Christmas Day and Boxing Day at Zac's HQ. (Do breakfast each weekday morning and a meal Thurs eve regularly).

Been a busy few weeks at Zac's - great to open the huge baptistry to see it used by us for the first time, as Denise took the big step of a public declaration of her faith in Christ. Love the symbolism of a full immersion baptism - death to life, washing clean, .......

Great to have two top gigs booked already for 2008 - Bryn Haworth and Martyn Joseph.

...Also been on the road - Manchester and my home town of Reading. I still help run a huge charity ride I founded with some mates 22 years ago and bring a 'reflection' to the thousand or so that take part. (

Doing the BBC and ITV news interviews................

Anyway, I'll leave these Bruce Cockburn lyrics with you as something to reflect on:

Like a stone on the surface of a still river
Driving the ripples on forever
Redemption rips through the surface of time
In the cry of a tiny babe

Friday, December 14, 2007

No Room At The Inn?

So why was Jesus born at such a busy time of year? Surely God should have realised the shops would be busy and the sales wouldn't start 'til January!

The fact is, even 2000 years ago Jesus was born at a hectic time. Countless families were on the move to go to the place of their birth to take part in a population census. It wasn't usually a problem getting a bed for the night in Bethlehem, but as the heavily pregnant girl, Mary, knocked on the doors of guest houses looking for rest, she got turned away each time. No room. Eventually shelter was found out the back in some shared accommodation with the livestock - at least it would have been warm.

I struggle with Christmas - in the main because I think good will and peace to all men came and was banished to the shit house out the back. I don't think much has really changed. For most in the middle classes, it's an excuse for excess to the extreme, for others it's when poverty and loneliness become accentuated to the extreme. Occasionally they meet, and exchange pleasant greetings.

As the story is re-told, with varying forms of accuracy and sincerity I am reminded that the birth of Christ took place on the margins of society. He didn't enter humanity in the mainstream - his story became an experience of exclusion as he began his life as a homeless refugee. Maybe we can take heart from that though.

The Christmas message is about God entering our world in the frailty of humanity. Maybe God is still on the side of the rejected and the lonely.

Happy Christmas? Maybe, maybe not. Here's wishing you God's gift of grace and peace whatever the coming days and events bring.

Cheers and God bless ya.