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!
Sophie’s going through a lovely stage of affection at the moment.
She loves to zip around the house, scuttling on her little legs between rooms and then appearing from nowhere to jump out at me or my wife with a big beaming smile on her face.
I’ve taken to crouching down with my arms open wide and my eyes tightly closed, encouraging her to charge and give me a massive hug.
Sometimes she gives me a look of disdain – “why would I, Daddy?” – but mostly, she’s very keen to reciprocate. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that she is fully dependent on me and loves me like I love her.
But that’s not the most special part of it.
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.
My first adventure into the beautiful grounds of Sibford School, Oxfordshire came two years ago, just a week after finding out my wife was pregnant with Sophie.
I felt pretty bad leaving her!
However, there was gospel work to do and so she dropped me off on the Saturday and so it began!