Back from Devon. It only took five hours - though it rained all the way. We had a fabulous break - lots of good food, lovely walks, great conversations, though sadly no surfing....
We bought a painting - it's for Linda's birthday in February really, but we'll probably hang it before then. It's a glorious small study of a blue cloth that changes shade and texture in different lights and from different angles.
Lots of writing to do this week as well as getting ready for Sunday (hopes and dreams for the coming year).
After hearing someone in the church I went to on Christmas morning wish Jesus a happy birthday - almost breaking into song in the process - I was so heartened by Michael Gorman's post that pointed out that Christmas is not Jesus' birthday, but the time we celebrate the incarnation of the Second person of the Trinity. It was a good to read a bit of sensible theology over the festive season.
In the post he says: 'Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus would not seem to engender devotion to the One we are called to follow so fully that it might lead to death—yet the Church remembers Stephen, the first martyr, on December 26, the day after Christmas. Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus reflects an understanding of Jesus as a cute little baby or little boy who could cause no trouble and do no harm. But that is not what Herod thought, so the Church remembers his slaughter of the innocents on December 28. In other words, the shadow of the cross is present in the Scriptural Christmas narrative, and in the Church’s way of framing its celebration, but it is absent from the “Happy Birthday, Jesus” mindset.'
Pretty much everything he's been posting through Advent has been top notch, so check him out here (you'll need to scroll down for the birthday post).
With all the hype that attended Douglas Campbell's big book on Paul, it's as well to remember that Gorman published a much briefer but immensely rich Pauline theology this year. Inhabiting the Cruciform God is one of my books of the year (though I've not quite finished it yet).