Tag: christmas

What I wish I could give my kids this Christmas

Published December 2018

As I write, it is the beginning of October and time to start thinking about accumulating gifts for various family members for Christmas. The shops are already putting up decorations and the catalogues are flowing in thick and fast.

So many choices, so much stuff, such a lot of gadgets and gizmos. Apparently, according to the US National Retail Federation projections, this year Americans will spend a staggering $600 billion on Christmas, and I’m sure us Aussies are not far behind.

Continue reading

Filed under: Holidays and events, Jody Bennett, Popular culture, Thoughts on lifeTagged with: , , , ,

Weird gifts

What is the worst Christmas gift you have ever received? My colleague’s gran once gave him got a repurposed school blazer with the emblem picked off; and someone else I know got an empty wooden box! My mum was once deeply insulted when someone gave her loo freshener for Christmas!

A Christmas gift might reveal that someone doesn’t really know your tastes or size, or might show that someone only shops the sales. However, how would you like a gift that revealed that someone knew your future?

Continue reading

Filed under: Holidays and events, Jody BennettTagged with: , , ,

Don’t let your anger ruin Christmas

by Rob Furlong

About a month ago I came across a trailer advertising this year’s Christmas movie – Violent Night. Basically, the plot revolves around Santa going rogue and taking out the bad guys on Christmas Eve, using his heavy arsenal of guns and weapons. Hence the name Violent Night. (Disclaimer here – I am not recommending you see the movie – but there is a point to my mentioning it!)

Violence is not something we automatically associate with Christmas. Our minds are filled with thoughts of love, peace, and good will toward others, but violence? Certainly not!

However, if you read the account of Jesus’ birth carefully – the first Christmas – you will discover that violence is as much a part of the story as peace and love.

Continue reading

Filed under: Rob Furlong - Building Better RelationshipsTagged with: ,

An end to the endless winter of the world

by Rob Furlong

In C. S. Lewis’ wonderful book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mr. Tumnus tries to describe to Lucy how dreadful life has become because of the reign of the White Witch over Narnia.
“It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”
Under the iron fist of the White Witch, life in Narnia is devoid of love, hope and real joy.
Over the past 18 months, much has been said and written about the deep loss of hope and joy people are experiencing.
All around us, anxiety, mental stress, and fear reign supreme and as Mr. Tumnus said, “It’s always winter and never Christmas!” (I know many of you reading this live in the Southern Hemisphere where Christmas occurs in summer, but I’m sure you understand the point being made!)
People long deeply for peace of mind, fulfillment, and joy.
Continue reading

Filed under: Rob Furlong - Building Better RelationshipsTagged with: , , , ,

How Christmas changed marriage forever

By Rob Furlong
Have you ever wondered how different our world might be if Jesus had never been born?
For example, as a direct result of His emphasis on love, mercy and compassion, Christians set up organizations such as hospitals, universities, a just and fair judicial system, orphanages and centres caring for the poor.
All because a baby was born in a stable two thousand years ago.
One of the most profound impacts Jesus has had upon our world is in the area of our relationships, especially those between husbands, wives and the family unit.
Continue reading

Filed under: Rob Furlong - Building Better RelationshipsTagged with: , , , ,

Want something new?

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

Many new things come into our homes and our lives around Christmas. And what excitement it all generates! Hot on the heels of all the new things is a new year with all its hopes and prospects. Probably some new joys, new experiences, new faces — and new problems.

When each day dawns we look to the sky to see the weather. We read the paper to find out what’s new. We’re always on the lookout for something different to make life more enjoyable and interesting. It is only natural.

A common experience
Have you ever looked forward to a new start? A new job, or maybe, a move to another house in another district. Perhaps a new school or college. Hopes are high for everything to take on a new colour, for an increased income, for conditions to make life just wonderful. But somehow it all fails to come together. Strangely, the old creeps back. The problems haven’t gone away; they just slip out from the shadows and stare at us once again.Continue reading

Filed under: Alan BaileyTagged with: , ,

Are you suffering through Christmas?

Published Christmas 2018

Most people are familiar with the basics of the Christmas story and the manger scene of baby Jesus in the hay; however, they might think ‘well so what? Even if that is the historical basis for Christmas, it is irrelevant to me now in the 21st century.’

Christmas, to most Aussies, has come to mean presents, food and maybe some time off.

For some, though, it is not even a festive holiday but a hard time. Christmas may bring with it unnecessary debt, unwanted expectations, demanding social engagements and painful memories of family members who are no longer with us or relationships that have broken down.

Continue reading
Filed under: About God, About the Bible, Holidays and events, Jody BennettTagged with: , , , , , ,

What are we waiting for?

Published Christmas 2019

“I just can’t wait to open my presents!” Isn’t that the cry of kids (and some adults!) at Christmas? The anticipation of seeing secret wrapped presents under the tree is often even more exciting than actually finding out what is inside them! We wait with expectation, for weeks, to find out what we will get and to taste the delicious food we specially prepare.

Waiting is hard. Not for Christmas morning, maybe. But life is full of other waiting times; we wait for a diagnosis, for true love, to recover from an illness, to stop hurting, to have children, to get work or to retire.Continue reading

Filed under: About God, Holidays and events, Jody Bennett, Thoughts on lifeTagged with: , , , ,

A Wonder-filled Life

Getty Images

The expression of the little girl in this photo is so delightful! It reminds us that children still have the capacity to be overcome with awe and wonder and excitement, in a way that us cynical and jaded adults seldom experience.

In the modern world where so many mysteries of science and biology have been discovered, where so many disasters and disappointments happen routinely, and where our lives are so busy, it is rare to feel awe.

Continue reading
Filed under: About God, Holidays and events, Jody Bennett, Popular culture, Thoughts on lifeTagged with: , , ,

Getting Grateful

Christmas 2021

This Christmas, the second Covid Christmas of the world,  it would be easy to focus on the negative – foreign holidays we can’t go on, overseas family that we can’t see, online gifts that are delayed or unavailable. There may also be the more serious issues of a loved one passed or sick from Covid (or some other illness or accident), a lost job, less money due to reduced hours or lockdowns, or relationships that have failed due to enforced distance or smothering closeness.

American author Max Lucado says, “The good life begins not when circumstances change but when our attitude toward them does.”Continue reading

Filed under: Holidays and events, Jody BennettTagged with: , , , ,