From the Pastor's Pen

Are You Dreaming Of A White Christmas?

I was recently driving my car, having picked up two of my grandchildren from school, when we began to talk excitedly about Christmas not being very far away. To my surprise my seven year old granddaughter responded in a very dramatic way stating; ‘Yes Papa; I was just saying to my friends today that it will soon be Christmas.’ She was so looking forward to it and then suddenly she said; ‘where does time go? Don’t the years fly by’? I giggled inside as I agreed with her statement. We must use our time well in service to God.


Christmas will come and go as fast as ever and we will step into the New Year. It is actually possible for Christians not to focus on Christ at Christmas and to look back with disappointment at the Christmas season. This is not just family time for those who know Christ. It is more than a winter festival with the ‘tree tops glistening and children listening to hear sleigh bells in the snow’. It is the celebration of the birth of our Saviour which is one of our most important celebrations in the Christian calendar. We have the responsibility to ensure our Christmas is not ‘deep and crisp and even’ with all the glitter and tinsel, but that this Christmas is filled with the power, peace and presence of the Most High God. Set your heart in the right place and focus upon filling your Christmas with Christ rather than filling your stocking with worldly goods.


This message rings out through every generation. In eternity past, present and future. The message of the coming saviour is the same, yesterday, today and forever. A saviour has been born to you’. To you personally and to all the world. ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’. ‘He is Christ the Lord’. I am reminded of the words of the famous carol; ‘Jesus was born to raise the sons of earth, and born to give them second birth’. He existed in eternity past, stepped into time, did everything necessary to save us and return to the Father’s right hand. One day Jesus will return in power and glory and we will reign with him forever. We have every reason to fill our Christmas with thanksgiving and celebration. Hallelujah! Make your Christmas the most Holy Spirit filled Christmas you have ever known as you enjoy every moment the family at HICC is together in celebration.

Michael's Missives

Laughing is a good medicine

I was sitting on a Boeing 767 on the return journey to Heathrow from Toronto.  The airline was showing the film “Patch Adams” about a doctor who made people laugh. He argued that laughter increased the positive antibodies that fight disease. He was denied his qualification by the hospital where he was studying because he upset their ‘tradition’ so he appealed to the medical board, won his case and was awarded his degree. The postscript to the film was there were at least 1,000 doctors waiting to be employed at his clinic.

Humour is good for you, but at times can be misunderstood. We have a multicultural society where often harmless raillery can be misread. The Americans tell jokes about the Poles, the English about the Irish, the Australians about the English and the Jews about themselves. At the present rate of law-making they will even ban the Jews joking about themselves!

English humour is sarcastic and self-deprecating, and many nations fail to perceive the cutting edge of their jokes, and are sometimes offended. In fact, the situation has got out of hand, so that now we have to be politically correct, because innocuous jokes of yesteryear are now viewed by some as having racist undertones.

I noticed a joke book in my library that I hadn’t read for years and thought I’d use one in this article, but hesitated to quote the source in case I was accused of being racial. Isn’t that sad? Here it is anyhow without the title of the book “a housewife took the clothesline she bought back to the shop because the garden wasn’t long enough!”

I am sure God is not straight-laced but has a sense of humour. I can imagine the disciples sitting with Jesus around an evening fire swapping stories and making quips, especially about themselves. In fact God MUST have a sense of humour he made me – and YOU. What does a new translation of the psalms say? “Bring the gift of laughter and come into His presence.”

Learn to laugh at yourself, don’t get uptight about suspect undertones, which aren’t there, and give as good as you get. Encourage others to laugh with you and at you and loose yourself from an unhealthy preoccupation with seriousness that borders on depression and an unwholesome introspection.

We are told that modern counselling is doing more harm than good for it centres people on themselves, their short-comings, their disabilities, their sicknesses. We now have neurotic children, for their parents are forever trying to ascertain faults that need correcting by professional analysis – why not just live with what they are – did God make a mistake?

When the misnamed Toronto Blessing (Really, the Father’s Blessing) was at its height there was laughter, some good some bad, but in it all counselling dropped to a minimum; pastors were delighted that their diaries were empty, and they actually had time to pray, read and think, instead of being besieged by worried depressed people in their churches demanding therapy.

In fact, a pastor’s life is usually dominated by people demanding attention, how blessed then to see their flock living on their own without their hands being held continuously. When I was a lecturer I assembled with many other such professionals from all walks and disciplines of life, and very rarely did they ever highlight their problems. It was refreshing, but what a difference when I became a full-time minister, all I ever heard was problems, problems, problems – I wondered where God was in many lives!

In a recent article it was stated that psychiatrists have come to the conclusion that the English ‘stiff upper lip’ is good for you, for it develops backbone. An inner strength is matured in lives, thus giving people the ability to weather the storms and difficulties in life with a smile, stoical though it may be, if you like, to laugh at our troubles.

Trials will come because even as sparks fly upwards man is born to trouble, nothing is perfect; we soon learn that, or should learn that, so we live with lesser things, and learn to enjoy them. The modern trend is to write laws so that we all live right which is bewildering to the current generation; there is no room for failure which is part of life. Children are barred from competition lest they lose, and mundane actives are banned lest accidents occur, accidents will always occur and out of that situation and our positive response strength of character is developed.