December 2006 begins with sunshine, rain, floods, storm winds, leaves on the trees, leaves off the trees, car being repaired (nice car in its place), wonderful developments at work, turmoil at work ... a load of paradoxes.
There have been some good high points over the last seven days, particularly the reflective time about mission community with Andrew Jones and Jim Barker, Paul and Thaya Ashman (with William!), and Diana and John Thomas last Saturday; the visit to Burford Priory on Sunday; worship with hOME on Sunday evening; then two more days of reflection during the week with colleagues and local people interested in mission community.
We enjoyed good conversation over some meals together. We were joined by Ian Adam of MayBe, Matt Rees and Jim Barker of hOME, who caught up with Jonny Baker to talk about possibly organising Oxford Blahs sometime soon.
Yesterday, after a planning meeting with Parish Nursing Minstries UK about the 2007 symposium at Hothorpe Hall, I stopped off at Leamington Spa to enjoy an Italian lunchtime treat with my sister, her son and husband. Casa Valle has a lovely atmosphere, a very fair set lunch price, and they accommodate individual menu variations with warmth and willingness.
Yesterday evening I went along to the Wycliffe Hall carol Service at St Andrew's Church in Oxford - it was a very moving celebration weaving in music from different centuries, and with a powerful presentation by Dr Krish Kandiah of the reason for Christ's birth, and of ways of seeing Jesus through the eyes of different ages and different cultures.
My friend Jenny Ottewell has sent her Advent activity sheet with a simple drawing for colouring in. Designed to help "reflect on how God's Word speaks to us as we travel through our lives", each day there's a verse, an invitation to reflection or prayer, and a feature to colour. It can be mentally and spiritually productive to do this as you reflect on the bible verses and their relevance to life - it's the right-brain/left-brain stuff (which I first came across in 1990 when I read Walter Wink's "Transforming Bible Study".
This morning the postman delivered my kissing kit from Innocent Smoothies.
(I think Nele Schulze is well on her way to winning the game) ...