Monday, 15 December 2014

Santa Christmas Carols...

Yesterday was a fun day....I had applied to do the inaugural Reading Santa Run a few months ago, primarily because it was a fund raiser for Duchess of Kent House (where Karena died) and also for the Alexander Devine Children's Hospice - both charities feel close to my heart.
Having got out of bed rather reluctantly in order to get there in time to register, I decided to run it full-pelt (is there any other way?) with the more serious Santas - there were 1000 of us in total.  I don't know my overall race position (top 30 or so I think) but I came across the line in a good time.
Even the real Father Christmas turned up which was nice - you can see him if you look really carefully in the photo.

Then in the afternoon, Ellie and I along with 2 of our daughters were singing in the choir at the annual Reading Family Church carol service at the Town Hall. It felt like a great privilege, was really enjoyable, and the wonderful truth of Christmas was declared in a mixture of traditional and contemporary styles, with Jesus birth, death and resurrection right at the centre of it all.

The Santa Run was brilliant fun, but singing "Fall on your knees" from the carol "O Holy Night" in a 3 part harmony made my legs buckle with emotion.

Merry Christmas !

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A great day....

My daughter got baptised on Sunday....this is what she said before she got dunked.....

"Hello, my name is Olivia and I am 14 years old. 
Throughout my life I have been brought up in a Christian family and have been in this church since it started in 2001. From an early age I was taught about Jesus and the significance of him dying on the cross for everyone who believed in him. When I was 5 years old I made a first time commitment to God in my bedroom. From then on, my faith and understanding of who God was grew, through being around other Christians, going to kid’s church on a Sunday and quizzing my Dad from the age of seven about some of the questions I had around Christianity.

Nothing really unexpected had happened in my life when I was younger, until one evening in 2008.  It was then that I found out that my mum had been diagnosed with cancer and was to go through a course of chemotherapy to make her better. From then on, I became used to mum feeling unwell and going in and out of the hospital every few weeks for chemotherapy.  

A year later, mum was moved to Duchess of Kent house hospice as her condition didn’t improve and it was there, a few weeks later, that my brother, sister and I were told that in a week or so mum would meet Jesus face to face.  In the dark days that followed I became more increasingly aware of God’s love for my family and I, and that when mum took her final breath, she would be with Jesus Christ in heaven.  
At 8 o’ clock on 12th February 2010, mum went through the gates of glory where she is now partying in heaven.
In the years that followed there was lots of crying and pain but I also had a great sense of peace over me as I knew where mum was.  I also have great confidence that one day I will meet mum again and like the 'picture' that God gave me a few months after her death, one day, I will run into heaven where she will be waiting for me, and I will pick her up and spin her around laughing.

Later that year Dad met the amazing Ellie at a bereavement conference where God showed us that he had more plans for our family.  A year later they got married and I also gained another brother and sister!  
In the years that followed up until now I have learnt more and more of Gods’ great love for me through events like Carroty Wood and Newday and despite the death of my grandma earlier this year, I have learnt and realise that God really does work for the best of those who love him.

I am getting baptised today as a declaration of my faith in Jesus, to be obedient to God’s word and the plans that he has for me in the future."

I am so proud of her!