Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas greetings....

Just a few stories from my christmas experiences so far...

Dave puts his foot in it....
I was handing out jobs last night as we prepared for our Christmas day dinner. One family arrived asking for jobs. My mind raced and went to the 25 legs of hogget (year old mutton) that had to be prepared for cooking. I burst forth into great explanations about what had to happen etc. then paused. There was silence and strange looks between the family members. Then the dad said, "We're vegetarians!" .... They were very good about it as I found another job for them to do. There was lots of laughter.

Profanity in church...We have a big christmas tree and I had set some guys the task of setting it up. When it came to lifting it into place they called me over to help. As we were lifting the top caught on a beam. "Buggar!" said one of the volunteers. He then realised that he was in a church standing next to the Rev. and looked at me sheepishly and quickly said, "Oooh... am I allowed to say that in here?" I winked at him and assured him the church walls had heard worse. Again lots of laughter.

Early phone call... We had a phone call at 6:30 a.m. this morning! We were up but phone calls at that time in a minister's house often mean a funeral coming up. It wasn't this time. It was Joan, the town drunk. She had decided that it was time to book her and a couple of mates in for the Christmas day dinner. We could not be angry. She was sober. In spite of all the crap in Joan's life she has a beautiful loving spirit and we were pleased that she is coming. It is a privilege to be able to treat her well on this special day. One of my lasting christmas day memories is of me and Joan dancing together on the platform of the church to the music that was playing.

Christmas Greetings...a couple of thoughts about why I celebrate christmas. Hans Kung at the end of one of his books writes...."By following Jesus Christ, people in the world today can live, act suffer and die in a truly human way; in happiness and unhappiness, life and death, sustained by God and helpful to fellow men and women." In my experience that's what Jesus can do and that's why I celebrate his birth.

Studdert-Kennedy, a chaplain in the WW1 wrote ...
"I bet my life on Beauty, Truth,
and love, not abstract but incarnate truth..."

"... and I believe that Evil dies,
And Good lives on, loves on, and conquers all-
All war must end in peace. these clouds are lies.
they cannot last. The blue sky is the truth.
For God is love. Such is my faith, and such
my reasons for it, and I find them strong
enough. And you? You want to argue? Well'
I can't. It is a choice. I choose the Christ."
(A few lines from a poem called "Faith")

You may have gathered that I have an impatience with "religion" but I am hooked on Jesus whose birthday we celebrate. In the words of a song by Don Williams, "I believe in love"
To you my mysterious readers, I wish you a very happy Christmas. Above all I hope you enjoy lots of love.

Dave Brown... "Father Ted" "JC's helper" :-)
Slide 11

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