It’s been a really special Easter for Sophie this year.
We were determined to make Easter at the very least as memorable as Christmas for her and my wife put in some sterling work to make that happen.
Here’s how it turned out…
I’ve been a bit of a wimp so far this Christmas.
Challenged to come up with the best things about Christmas, I went along with the standard list that everyone else was saying: presents, food, family time. All wonderful things.
We even started talking about music, carol services and goodwill.
But, and here’s where being cowardly really kicked in, I neglected to mention the real point of all. The true reason for the season. Why on earth it all started anyway.
And that’s what this post is all about.
When you become a Christian and join a church, relationships are dramatically affected.
It’s more than acquantaince or colleagues. It’s more than simple friendship.
And so, when we returned to our old church in Nottingham, Emmanuel Bramcote at the weekend, it really felt a lot like going home.
Which was very special.
This time last year I composed a blog post about teaching Sophie the true meaning of Christmas. It was a lovely year, marked by incredible generosity from friends and family and celebration of Jesus’ birth.
This year, with a 21 month old little girl charging round, chatting away and throwing in the occasional defiant moment, teaching about Christmas is a whole different challenge!
With Nottingham Powerleague a thing of the past, the Gammy Knees legacy needed a way to live on, even in a different city.
Rick arrived to join my wife and I by living in Manchester so the two of us could vaguely keep it going. The weekly league wasn’t really an option but the team wasn’t simply going to fizzle out.
I was determined!
And besides, we still had that old chestnut of church football tournaments to enter…and this time I was organising!
What could possibly go wrong?!
Every year, across the beautiful coastline of the UK (and even on the continent), people in bright red t-shirts give up a week of their life to sleep on a church hall floor and tell people about Jesus.
They are on “Beach Mission” and it was my privilege to get involved with one in Mablethorpe back in 2011.
OK, so technically Quinta wasn’t a summer camp, more of a May holiday, but it still brought great enjoyment and fruit for God’s kingdom.
Before I became a teacher in primary schools, I worked at my home church for a year and it was through this I went along to Quinta in May 2008.
Having already missed the training weekend, it was something of a surprise to me to be on the list of leaders. And, with a slightly calmer week in prospect at church, the thought of leading a bunch of 7-11 year olds on a residential didn’t fill me with tons of enthusiasm.
So it was a touch of trepidation that my parents drove me down to an isolated corner of Shropshire, essentially a big house with a long, winding driveway. Welcome to Quinta.
It’s probably in the top 5 most famous Bible verses of all time.
John 8:12 – Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
On Sunday at church, one of our elders Matt unpacked this verse for us and what we learned really hit home with me.
I think I’d always associated the light of the world with people holding candles and saying prayers in darkened church buildings. But Jesus being “light” is WAY bigger than that – and not getting this right carries real dangers for us.