Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’


As the prisoners come in, they wish me “Happy Christmas”.  Many of them anyway, and with cheery grins.  I was surprised.  They were glad to see us doing music for the Christmas Eve service.  Glad that there was something on for Christmas, glad to be glad-handed.

Trouble over Christmas period in prisons?  Perhaps in HMP Cardiff yesterday.  Not where I’ve been.  I’ve been inside twice this month, including Christmas Eve.  There was more natter than normal, and it had an “edge”.  Yet, no more than that.



Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined, for unto us a child is born, a son is given.”
We are in darkness here, oh God
miserable being here this Christmas.
Want to be home at this time.
We are not home. Yet…. we are not alone.

May we be the light that shined on:
.     mates on the Wings – encouragement
.          wife on the phone – a truly listening ear
.               kids in the Visitors Centre – sweet words.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom your captive people (more…)

How do we express God’s special expedition that is Christmas for a new babe (not a relative)generation? Something that captures the less-is-more to the point of complete self offering.  In a way that makes sense to the 21st century. Often we trot out the familiar words that are closer to James Stewart (“It’s a Wonderful Life”) or Charles Dickens (“A Christmas carol”), than the original vision.

This poem (below), used in Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols”, expresses the bizarre ironies of God-coming-in-might as a baby, in terms of a renaissance army with all it’s force. The poet made the contrasts so vivid, striking. Read on:

Poem: New Heaven, New War

This little babe, so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan’s fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake.

Christmas in prisonThe Christmas season service I led was probably the ‘flattest’ I’ve experienced in a while.  Bad service? No, the guys were quiet, sad.  “Christmas is probably the most challenging time of year in prison. A prison sentence is often calculated in “how many more Christmas’s to get through?” It’s the time when families should be together. The time for parents to watch children unwrapping presents. Almost every TV ad is a reminder of the season. Parents in prison feel guilty that they’re not at home, and grieve for what they are missing. For those prisoners who have been permanently separated from their children the pain runs deeper still. And for those with no family outside to care, the loneliness of Christmas can be bitter.” So says Rev Lesley Mason, Managing Chaplain, HMP Send.


New Birth Notification

Posted: 26 December 2013 in Poems
Tags: ,
Girl gave birth to her fist child on 25th December lastblack nativity
She is in her late teens, DoB uncertain
Not from round here.
Girl recently married to a Jo Bendavid
Believed to be in his 40’s
Admits to not being father of the infant. 


There are too many sickly sweet Christmas characters about. Let’s meet some others.

Herod The Great

I do this for the greater good. As Machiavelli said:
“it is better to be feared than to be loved”
In this- I have excelled.
My firm hand gives ensures peace for all.

More than 3 kings leave Kisiizi Hospital Children's Ward. Looking for a bus that will take them to Bethlehem?

Christmas? Despite vigorous searches, still no job.  The lovely cat that I got for company while I job hunt has had to go back as I break out in allergic reaction. The weather is bitterly cold and the house is cold. Life is not a picnic at present.  Remaining in Kisiizi Uganda would’ve been the easier option for us both (but not the right one). Time to “curse God and die” (Job 2 v9)?