Decisions in December

As I write – there is no escaping the fact that two big events are coming … The General Election and Christmas. The media is full of both and, like it or not, these things are coming very soon. Of these two events, one is comfortingly predictable and the other is uneasily uncertain.

Christmas is predictable. I know what to expect. I know the songs I’ll hear, the films that’ll be on the TV, the food I’ll eat, the people I’ll see, the Carols I’ll sing and the readings I’ll hear. I love it – and there is some comfort and reassurance in predictability.

The outcome of the Election is unpredictable. We don’t know what to expect. We don’t know the outcome nor do we know the details of the results, the extent of victory and where the balance of power will be. The inevitable twists, turns and swings of the campaign trail are also unknown.

But Christmas and the General Election do have something in common; they both require us to engage. The Election offers us an opportunity to listen, to think, to evaluate and to vote. These are precious rights that we should exercise and never take for granted.

The real message of Christmas invites us to meet Jesus, to know the peace and joy that He brings, to follow Him, live by His standards and be part of transforming the world.

As I contemplate the predictability of Christmas and the uncertainty of a General Election I believe there is a question that lies just beneath the surface of both. A question which we must answer and a question that will determine the choices we make…… What kind of world do you want to live in?

If I want to say yes to knowing and following Jesus then I must also say yes to committing myself to working for a community, nation and world which is marked by Christ’s values of love, grace, compassion, justice and hope.

However you vote or voted, whoever wins or won, I hope that our response will be to be united in following Jesus faithfully and praying, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.”

With love,

Dorset Anti – Bullying Service

Dorset Anti – Bullying Service is a not for profit organisation Vision: To provide confidential information, support and training for anybody affected directly or indirectly by bullying at any time.

Our event held at St John’s Church on November 13th highlighted the issues of bullying, affecting all ages and with particular emphasis upon Dorset.

Cat Greenaway, Weymouth’s proactive Carnival Queen of 2015, attended the event. She presented a gift given to her by St Aldhelm’s Friday Friends’ group where she spoke and showed slides about her year as queen. They asked her to choose a charity she would like to support. She chose DABS, having experienced bullying in her own life.

During the evening we heard many true life stories where people in different circumstances have been bullied, within work and educational situations, both directly and via cyber bullying. This is an ever-increasing problem. In these situations some people’s lives have been destroyed. Fortunately they sought help from DABS and managed to turn things around.

We were entertained by the fabulous local band PICT, made up of members from St John’s Church. It was a very well attended event including Weymouth Town Councillor and Mayor, Graham Winter and Mayoress Mary Winter, Dorset Councillor, Louie O’Leary and the President of the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce.

We couldn’t have done it without the help of many people from St John’s and we want to thank them for helping us to raise awareness of bullying. £151.20 was raised in donations at the event.

With love Malcolm and Alison Fox

Christmas presents

I do so enjoy the Christmas season. As I am sure almost everyone reading this will agree the build-up, the excitement and the sense of anticipation are all very special. Singing the familiar carols with gusto and enthusiasm, even if one is not a gifted singer, brings back wonderful memories of years gone by. In the past I have gone out carol singing with the Salvation Army, which was a wonderful experience. Last year I was able to join my brother-in-law’s choir to visit several retirement homes in Bourne, Lincolnshire, with Christmas cheer and enthusiastic carol singing. We were rewarded with sherry and mince pies!

I love the familiar family traditions which recall and perpetuate happy childhood memories. I also enjoy thinking about what gift I can find for the special people in my life: my husband, children, grandchildren, siblings and close friends. I find Christmas shopping a joy which leads to great joy on that very special day. I love it when they exclaim, “This is just what I wanted” or “This is just what I needed” or “What a surprise, aren’t you clever!!”

This is only a reflection of the greatest gift of all: Jesus came because He was what we wanted and needed and He has enriched our lives and saved us from spiritual poverty. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY

Christine Clay

Christmas expectations

Asda have produced a free booklet, ‘Let’s Make Christmas Extra Special.’

So forgetting for a moment all the tinsel and trimmings, why is the run up to Christmas one of the most stressful times of life?

Part of the reason for this I feel is the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. Many people see it as a chance for family and friends to get together. Nothing wrong in that. However, if Aunty Mabel finds Uncle Fred’s company difficult to deal with they are not suddenly going to warmly embrace each other.

Then there are the Christmas preparations, especially on the catering side, so some end up in total burnout before Christmas.

So what can we do to help ourselves? Firstly make a timetable of the important things to be done and be willing to share the tasks. In that way the responsibility does not rest on one person.

Each day in Advent take time to be with God, who is the only person who makes Christmas special, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Each person will have their own thoughts, but with the birth of our first granddaughter, now 14 months old, I will think out of the box and imagine Jesus going through all the stages of human life. At times we tend to sanitize the story, but looking after a baby is a privilege as well as a loving sacrifice.

Thank God for the difference Jesus makes in our lives.

Hilary Lidstone

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