I've just iced the cake - so Christmas is really beginning in earnest (actually, my icing this year was a little sloppy and I had to spend the best part of half an hour keeping it on the cake while it set a bit - but I think it's ok now; we'll see how ok when we cut it on Christmas Eve!)
So, now just five services to prepare for - I'm singing at one of them and the other four do not require full-blown sermons (except Carols by Candlelight), but even so finding an angle on the Christmas story and how it intersects with the world we all live in is always a challenge.
I received confirmation this morning of the two courses I'll be teaching in Sri Lanka next summer. In Colombo, I'm doing aspects of NT social history (similar to the course I taught last time in Kandy) and in Kandy I'm tackling NT theology. This latter course will be a challenge - mainly knowing what to include as I've not done it before (any hints gratefully received). I'll be using Howard Marshall's Concise NT Theology as the text book and trying to cover the waterfront of issues without spreading the material too thinly.
I'm still awaiting confirmation of my book deal to write about aspects of NT social history in a lavishly illustrated coffee table volume. Hopefully soon - the recession is slowing people down as book sales are exploring levels somewhere three floors below the basement.
Part of my preparation for Sri Lanka is writing a Christian basics course for church based on what the NT says. We'll be teaching it at the morning services from January to March and then having hosted lunchtime discussions to talk through the material. The aim is to help our folk get a firmer grasp on the basics but also give them a vehicle to bring their friends along to. It's an approach I've never tried before, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.