A few alternative Christmas links…

The Christmas madness is fully on us- particularly now the weather has turned for the better.

Most towns have a few houses like the ones above, which always cause a little incredulity, but at the same time serve as a metaphor for what this season can often become- overly consumptive, tacky, competitive and rather vacuous.

But there I go again, sounding like a bit of a misery monger.

Because Christmas is lovely- not just for the kids either. The simplicity of the stable, a family staying together through the mess of mixed loyalties and the strange feeling that everything- everything– is about to change…

But if like me, you are looking to find ways of celebrating Christmas in simpler way more befitting the story we remember, then you might find some of these things useful-

Generous have a list of suggested actions/activities to here.

Then there is the rather hard core buynothingchristmas

You might like to check out the film What Would Jesus Buy, featuring Rev Billy, mentioned on this blog last year…

You might like to think about a fair trade Christmas, courtesy of Traidcraft.

And you could also come over to join Aoradh at their mass sky lantern launch in Dunoon at 5PM on Sunday- a great way to make some prayers of hope visible.

Reclaiming the spirituality of serving the other…

Another post about kindness…

I have written before about this issue– suggesting that I thought that kindness is a good measure of spiritual maturity. We talked a little around this the other night with my Aoradh chums.

Of course, being kind is not a universal sign of spiritual, or emotional health. The drive to please other people can be a destructive one. However, I still maintain that Christian spirituality that lacks kindness as one of its visible manifestations is likely also to be missing the point.

Which of course- is love.

The kind of love that is patient, kind and does not envy, boast, act proudly or haughtily. The sort of love that is not rude, or self-seeking, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. A love that does not delight in seeing evil in others but makes partnerships of truth. A protective, trusting, ever-hopeful kind of love that just does not give up. (1 Corinthians 13.)

The idealism of this kind of love defeats me at times- but it is an idealism that I will not let go.

So, if we Christians are called to be a blessing on the world around us because of the distinctiveness of our loving,  the way that this will be revealed is in this simple thing called kindness– expressed between ourselves in community, but also looking outwards into the places where we live work and play.

Here are links to a couple of resources that dig into this issue.

Firstly- Generous. This is an opportunity for Christians to sign up to acts of generosity- for the sake of the environment, and for the sake of others around us. There are whole categories of suggested actions that you can consider putting time/energy towards.

I came across Off The Map recently- a group trying to encourage us to reimagine evangelism- together they designed an approach to evangelism that “rescued it out of program prison, made it doable for ordinary Christians and restored it back to the spiritual practice Jesus modeled in his interactions with Outsiders.” They called it Doable Evangelism. This led to a book called Evangelism Without Additives and an organization called Doable Evangelism.

Here is some thing that they produced that resonated with me for its simplicity- and it’s kindness.

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