It’s a simple story.

Luke 2:11

Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

I’m working Prague this week. I’m filming a commercial with a complicated story but my job is to make it simple.

In Prague town square there’s a great atmosphere as people get into the Christmas spirit. Everyone is gathered, looking at the tree where there is a large nativity scene. They all look happy. And it makes me happy to see other people happy. But it’s easy to complicate the Christmas story. Or throw sub-plots into it to try and make it more interesting or more like the way we want Christmas to be. In the case of the Jesus story those sub-plots are elaborate Christmas trees, elaborate gifts, Santa Claus and many more things. I don’t dislike those things but what if they didn’t exist? Could we still be joyful and happy? Yes! Our joy comes with the birth of Jesus. “Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and all mankind”. From the carol ‘While Shepherds watched their flocks by night’.

Only time has turned that joy into a different kind of joy that distracts us from the gift of Jesus. A stark reminder of the story lies about a mile away from Prague town square, on the bridge leading to the castle. It’s in the picture below. Jesus nailed to the cross. The two images – the nativity and the cross are the beginning and the end of Jesus’s life on earth. Nothing complicated in-between really. Amazing but not complicated. Jesus came to earth in a humble way. Born in a not particularly flash place. He humbly walked our earth for 33 or so years. Talking about what believing and having faith means. He performed miracles and educated others on how to live in His way. And recruiting followers that will ultimately recruit others. In the end, as was the plan, He died for us. For our sins. He is our Lord and savior. That’s what we’re joyfully celebrating this season. Anything else is a complication to the story.

Charles bridge, Prague

Charles bridge, Prague

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Your son to die for us. May the joy of believing in You and having faith in You be enough for us this Christmas – Amen!

Hold your tongue!

Matthew 12:36

I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak

‘Careless talk cost lives’ was a famous slogan on posters during World War Two in London. A quirky cartoon of two elderly women gossiping had a picture on the wall above them of Adolf Hitler listening in on their conversation. I’m not sure how their chit-chat would have affected the war but hey, it was entertainment.

Our choice of words at work can affect the course of a day. When I was working full-time, the first words I spoke in the day sometimes affected how I would behave and communicate for the rest of the day. It set the tone, sometimes. How I greeted people, how I reacted to a question and how I spoke about others. It says in James 5How great a forest is set a blaze by such a small fire.  Bad words and gossip won’t necessarily ‘cost lives’ as in the poster slogan but it can surely affect someones life. The words can spread like the fire and cause destruction. There’s nothing worst then dreading coming into the office, worried about what’s being said about you or how you might be bullied that day. Yes, bullying isn’t only reserved for the playground. So, let’s think about how we talk to others today. Be kind, loving, caring and compassionate. Be like Jesus!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, Be with us today. Help us to hold our tongues and speak careful, kind words to out fellow workers. Help us also to be encouraging to others – Amen!

A fragile world

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Please say a prayer today for those who died in the train accident yesterday. Pray for strength for the family and love ones of those who died.
Pray for the those who are in a critical condition or injured. Pray for God to see them safely through the ordeal – Amen