A Matter of Communication

Padre’s Ramblings

This past weekend, the Toastmasters club I belong to had its Christmas party. It was held (as are our meetings) in a lovely old pub on the border between Suffolk and Norfolk. The set Christmas carvery was wonderful, as usual, and I being pescatarian had the veggie nut roast option. With that said, I found it hilarious to watch members of a club centred on communications skills try to play charades. Let’s put it this way, with members from the US, UK, the Philippines, and more, we faced a bit of a communications dilemma when we couldn’t use our words. Some was cultural. For instance before the games even started there was a need to clarify what was meant by a Christmas cracker, and a panto. But then the miming began for the charades. Our resident Disney enthusiast was able to decipher anything from that quarter, and another member was just a natural. The rest of us, however, definitely lost something in translation. Maybe we should build up our skill set and do an entire table topics in charades format (or not).

A big shout out to the Ram staff for a lovely meal, and a merry Christmas to all.



It might seem to many – a thing insane

That I attach such reverence to a name

That they might use day to day

As an utterance quite profane

It is the time though – of the year

When the name is on the radio

Broadcast for all to hear

Of mangers, and wise men, shepherds and more

The radio blasts them out – score after score

And at the end of this season all too brief

The name of Jesus will again come to grief

Why is it that their hearts are so base

That they don’t see the folly and the disgrace?


Blocked and Stopped

It wasn’t a normal day in Santa’s workshop

All the work had come to a full stop

It was all because of the strike

Brought by the E. L. F. the proceeding night

The Elven and Leprechaun Federation had had enough

Of labouring for just cocoa and other sweet stuff

They wanted and demanded better conditions too

Like paid vacation for a week or two

That Nick is a shrewd negotiator

For he gave them phased concessions

Starting a date next year and others even later


Christmas Wish

Gifts, Christmas, Morning, Birthday

For some a morning festive

All exciting and bright

For others a day for a lie-in

After a celebratory night

Whether a day of presents and feasting

Or of hymns and religious rites

I wish you all a happy Christmas

Filled with your heart’s delights


Oh, Come Emmanuel

Christmas, Shopping, Hamburg, Lights

It is a season when many feel the exuberance of the hunt. Finding that perfect gift or bargain becomes an end in itself. For others it is a time of fear and trepidation: the crowds, the expectations and the like weighing on them. Others still, remember a baby in a manger, three kings, a little lamb, and of course a little donkey.

The coming of the Christ-child becomes many things to many people, but its underlying message of Emmanuel is often lost. But the need of “God with us,” it is as important today as it was two thousand years ago.

Consumerism and the “hunt” underlies an emptiness which we feel needs filling. Fears and apprehensions – whether about the season, or racism, or Covid, or identity, etc. – still need the calming hand of God. It is also more than the trappings of a manger scene. That baby, whether accompanied by a lamb, little donkey, or panda bear (yes, I have seen one in a nativity play) was the ultimate gift of God’s own presence to a troubled human-kind. He came to redeem and comfort, to gift, and to be gifted.

Oh, come Emmanuel! Come and be the fulfilment of our sense of “missing something.” Come into our fears and anxieties and gently wipe them away. Come into our consciences and not just our decorations. Come Lord, into our lives.



To Bethlehem at Caesar’s behest

Mary journeyed in need of rest

And though no space at the inn was found

She was forced to give birth in a stable’s ground

Her babe small and innocent that day

Was placed in a manger’s hay

Her journey though was far from complete

For soon to Egypt she would be forced to retreat

Such a rough beginning – a tale so sad

Is in reality one of joy to make us glad

For it set the stage of things to come

Our salvation though the birth of that Holy One


Reflections On A Star

Holy Three Kings, Holy, Kings

The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has just passed after an absence of hundreds of years. Some call this the Christmas Star or the Bethlehem Star. In this year of fires, floods, racial and social unrest, and a world-wide pandemic it is perhaps a time to take stock and to reflect on the story not of this planetary alignment, but of the star of the Gospel account. It was a harbinger of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. It marked a transition in our relationship with the divine. The age of the Fall of Adam was coming to an end, and a promised saviour, the Messiah had come.

That did not mean that wars and rumours of wars, or fires, floods, and misfortune were coming to an end – 2020 surely shows us that. What it does say is there is a hope that is greater than those trials that is opened to us.

As I was reflecting on this I picked three YouTube videos to share which capture some of my thoughts. The first speaks of the coming of Emmanuel. The other two of the stresses and strains that Mary, the mother of Jesus may have faced in her obedience to God’s call. That obedience in the face of uncertainty and surely fears is a telling example for us all.

I wish all of you a happy Christmas, and pray that what ever the future holds for us, that we might cling to the Emmanuel – God with us.


Waiting Game

person in black jacket and red knit cap sitting on chair

S&B Vonlanthen at Unsplash


Will come

So I’ll sit and wait

I don’t care if it’s getting late

I’ll sit right here 

And not move away

Until I hear that roof top sleigh

If I get sleepy

And to tiredness succumb 

Just cover me with blankets

Until he comes