Silent night

I thought that like me, you would enjoy Silent night beautifully interpreted by Gemma-Dawn ShawRaised in a single parent family with 3 brothers and a sister, Gemma found it hard to understand the role of God the Father. Although she grew up in church, Gemma developed an incorrect understanding of salvation. “I thought I had to be a good person first then God would accept me as a Christian.” It wasn’t until the age of 21 that Gemma made a real commitment to God with a biblical understanding of salvation by grace. “When I realised that I could commit myself to God and the Holy Spirit would change me then all the pressure seemed to go away.” You can read on more about her on her website.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas. Blessings. Yours in Christ. N.


Nativity paintings...do you have a favourite?

This painting, the only surviving work signed by Botticelli appears to be complex. I have read that it does not simply represent the traditional events of the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the shepherds and the Magi. Rather it is a vision of these events inspired by the prophecies in Revelation. 
This painting was done by Correggio between 1528 and 1530.  I like the way Mary holds her son Jesus affectionately. However I am not sure why Joseph is so far away from her.

Nativity painted by FRANCESCO DI GIORGIO MARTINI in 1475 on wood. It can be seen at the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena (Italy)The Nativity with two angels, Sts Bernard and Thomas of Aquino is the only signed work of the Sienese master. 

I think that this painting by Philippe de Champaigne is my favourite as it shows Mary and Joseph's love and adoration towards Jesus. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12
I also recommend a very interesting website called the Web Gallery of Art 
So do you have a special Nativity painting? Let us know.
Blessings. N


To trust in the Lord

Photo, courtesy of Cathy
To trust in the Lord is always the right thing to do. 
I am referring to a few difficult periods I have had in my short life as a Christian, In these instances, I have had two choices; either to let panic invade and ruin my decisions, or to calm down and leave it to the Lord. 
I have had to learn how to stop over-reacting, this in itself is hard to do, you must take a conscious decision to ask the Lord for help. 
The Lord is full of compassion and He is faithful. Advice has come to me in various ways, either a passage of the Bible has sprung to mind or I have read and heard wise comments from fellow brothers and sisters. 
In any case, faith is the keyword and patience is the tool I need.
Blessings. Yours in Christ. 

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Nahum 1:7

The LORD is good, 
   a refuge in times of trouble. 
He cares for those who trust in him.


Fasting? Should Christians fast?

...The most significant Biblical characters, with the possible exception of Abraham, were all men of fasting and prayer. Jesus, the Son of God, was a man of fasting and prayer (Matthew 4:2). So was the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 11:27). Moses fasted 80 days. Elijah fasted 40 days....God wants to do many amazing things, but He looks for those willing to urgently make the corrections needed to come into line with him. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Successful fasting is also the fastest way to learn patience.
This excerpt comes from an article called Fast - key to power where the author develops the view that fasting is pleasing to the Lord. If you wish to read this very convincing post click on this link: http://www.christian-faith.com/forjesus/fasting-key-power. Maybe you are totally opposed to fasting, if so, tell us why. I would like to know what you think on this question. Do you fast? If yes, will you spare a moment and tell us why?  
Blessings. Your sister in Christ.


Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus

Isn't it just so good? Blessings.

A very quiet Saturday

For a change, I am having a very quiet day. I must explain, last night Steven went to Weston church for a prayer vigile with the Mid-trent team. He came back at 7 o'clock and went straight to sleep. I got up at 9ish and obviously moved round the house very quietly. I must say that at times you'd think that this house is made of paper as it is easy to hear sounds..The kitchen door will not stayed closed if you do not actually shut it so I had to remember that before I heated the milk in the microwave and got on with some tidying...Of course in this kind of situation, there is nothing you can do if the phone rings and you are not as near it as you wish. Two phone calls and fortunately I picked them up at the second ring! As I wanted to watch a dvd on 2 Corinthians I made sure to go in Im's room as somehow once the door is shut, it is pretty soundproof! 
I am still suffering from my tooth abscess even though it is not as bad as previously, the antibiotics must work! and somehow I am wondering if it is affecting my brain, I feel very lethargic! 
Outside my window, the snow is melting slowly as it is raining on and off, just as my friend Mandy told me last night, the meteo forecast was right! Later on Camille and I were skyping and somehow it is raining in Bologna too but she did say it was really cold last night!
I'd better wake up and do some school work before Im's return from town. She has two girlfriends sleeping over and it will be noisy..and fun!
Hope you are having a blessed Saturday! N.


Happy Hanukkah!

This morning as I was listening to Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks on thought for the day (BBC 4) and I thought that I should do some more reading on this Jewish holiday.  During the 2nd century BC a Greek ruler tried to force Mattathias, a Jew from the priestly class, to offer a sacrifice to a pagan god. Not only did Mattathias refuse, he murdered the Greek official. The Greek king Antiochus launched a series of reprisals, including desecrating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by filling it with statues of Greek gods. Mattathias and his five sons rose up against these actions and fought for Jewish liberation of Judea. Mattathias' sons can to be known as the Maccabees, which comes from the root of the Hebrew word for "hammer" since the band of insurgents were said to strike hammer-like blows against their enemies. The patriarch Mattathias was killed shortly after the fighting against the Greeks began. His son Judas took over as the leader of the rebels and is credited with great tactical ability and unparalleled bravery. By the end of the war against the Greeks, the only brother to have survived was Shimon (Simon). The heroes of the Chanukah story, the Macccabees, guided by their fierce and steadfast belief in God. The Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by the polytheistic Greeks during their rule of the city.
Did you know the only biblical reference to Hanukkah is in the New Testament? John 10:22-33
  • Did you know that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah? 
  • Did you know that Hanukkah is the feast of lights and the feast of dedication?
  • Did you know that Jesus Christ completely fulfilled this celebration by being our Light of the world? Many aspects of this holiday point to Jesus as the promised Messiah.
  • Here's a short excerpt from the "Jews for Jesus" website blog. The article is entitled "The Light of Hanukkah" and it's a good summary of the spiritual significance of Hanukkah and how it relates to Jesus as our Messiah:
    The Hanukkah candles are traditionally lit by a special candle called the shammash. Shammash is Hebrew for "servant." In the shammash candle, we can see a symbol of our Messiah Jesus, for as the Gospel of Matthew says,
    "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
    The shammash serves the other candles by bringing light to them. In the New Testament, Jesus is frequently referred to as "the Light," and Jesus Himself once said,
    "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8

    Blessings. Yours in Jesus-Christ.