20 December 2012

Post on http://mormon.org/christmas

Hi all

See my post on http://mormon.org/christmas as I was thinking about some of my memories relating the reason for the season - see 'Join the Conversation: Share what Christmas means to you.'

I have once experienced the build up to Christmas in Berlin and England. But every other Christmas for me has been in the southern hemisphere where it is really hot! Having had the experience in the north I can appreciate better what is meant by the feeling of the season. For us the warmth of the Spirit is felt in a hot climate and there is no contrast with the chill of the air. We have a lovely experience, but it is a hot experience in the middle of hot weather, if you know what I mean? 

But one year I was working as a botanist in the Namib Desert and my Christmas day was spent with friends who were not at all religious. I reflected on their making merry and really enjoying Christmas, but with no thought of the 'reason for the season'. That contrast of the purpose for celebrating Christmas made it more special for me as I reflected on my normal Christmas at home with family, thinking about the Christ Child born in a manger in Israel. I often think of the fact that it was probably fairly hot weather in Bethlehem on the Passover season when He was born. So I don't feel that we are really missing out having hot Christmas weather. In a way it helps me to relate to the birth in Bethlehem. I hope that whether you have hot weather or cold weather, that you will think of the little Babe born, kicking and fidgeting as his Mighty Spirit grew accustomed to His small mortal frame as it was laid in the manger on that first night. So began His great mission of teaching, establishing His Church and introducing His Gospel, and ultimately atoning for our sins and ushering in the resurrection in the Gardens of Gethsemane and Golgotha thirty-four passover seasons later. Shalom!

I was at Sandwich Harbour that Christmas day in 1978. I recorded in my journal that the other five people in our group insisted on there being a Christmas tree, and 'in the absence of all else a branch of Tamarix usneoides, not unlike a cedar tree in general appearance, has been adorned with all sorts of makeshift decorations. It looks attractive, but I wondered just why they celebrate Christmas. Does the name Jesus Christ have any significance, or is it just a gay, socially acceptable time to get sozzled?'

I thought I had a photo of our makeshift Christmas tree, but I cannot find one. Sorry, it was a good tree considering the limitations.

Have a lovely Christmas with lots of thought about the Lord Jesus Christ as you celebrate His birthday, and think what gift you can give to Him.


29 October 2012

On abortion and little children

Much has been said recently about abortion and the comments made by Mitt Romney during the 2012 US presidential election context. I am never quite sure when I hear sensational comments on the news whether the person in question is accurately quoted, misquoted, quoted out of context, or the comment somehow misrepresented. However, let me share some thoughts that I hope may have some value.

Imagine for a moment that you had lived in the Jerusalem area and heard Jesus talking on a few occasions.

Picture having heard him teach ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt 18:1-6), or ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 18:15-17; Mark 10:13-16)

Clearly the Lord felt great love for little children, equating them and the kingdom of heaven.

Now suppose that someone came to Him and said ‘I don’t want the baby that I am carrying – it is my body and my choice, and so I am going to have an abortion.’

How would you feel?

Would He say ‘Of course, my dear, I agree’? Or would He say ‘Please don’t offend one of these little ones. If you did, it would be better for you if a millstone were hanged about your neck and you be drowned in the depth of the sea.’ Or ‘Rather, receive the little child in my name and receive me.’ Or ‘suffer the little child to come, and forbid it not: for of such is the kingdom of God.’

Please do not take it lightly. The blessings of having the baby will surely be great. Let someone adopt it. Aborting may be something that you will regret for the rest of your life. My wife, as a family doctor, has had many women who had abortions tell her of great emotional pain, regretting that they had the abortion.

Yes, your body is your body. But the body inside your body is not your body. Is it really your choice?

What do you choose?

13 October 2012

A little one exhausted after the Penguin Waddle

Today my daughter Shelly invited Sally and me to join her and the children on the Penguin Waddle, a round trip from Two Oceans Aquarium to the parking area at Three Anchor Bay. We set off walking at about 09:30 with about thirty or more people and walked along the sea front a lot of the time.

It was a beautiful day. The children, and the adults, enjoyed Samantha the Penguin who spent some time with them. I reckon Samantha was a bit warm in the pink outfit that she was wearing - penguins do not usually wear pink outfits like this one!

Well, after about 1.9 km the children and Sally were feeling a bit tired and so the rest of the party waited while grandpa completed the 2.9 km journey to the turning point and back.
Most of the group at the turning point at Three Anchor Bay parking lot

Well, with about 1 km to go, Hannah fell fast asleep in grandpa's arms, so he carried her the rest of the trip. Actually, Shelly and Grandpa had carried Hannah most of the way because she has become very wary of dogs, and there were three dogs amongst the walkers, so she simply did not want to be on the ground!

Two people from Penguin Promises who sponsored the walk were carrying 'Hoot for Penguins' boards and waving them at motorists. They counted over about 400 motorists hooting for the cause, some hooting really merrily, others apparently embarrassed to give a little 'toot', and every degree of enthusiasm in between, and the hooters included drivers of buses, trucks, motor cars\ and motor cycles. The cause was to raise awareness of the plight of the African Penguins that have dwindled in numbers over the past century from 1.5 million to about 60 000 (a 96% decline).They are threatened by litter in the ocean and on the beaches, especially by oil spills.

By the end of the walk Caleb had fallen asleep in his pram - it was really cute the way that he was positioned - 'passed out!' You just cannot organise a pose like that from a baby, can you? That's just "doin' a what comes nacherrrly."

Well, a really lovely outing, although I must admit that the grandparents were feeling about as tired as the grandchildren clearly were!

Let us all be careful to use water sparingly, not litter, and assist in cleaning up when we have opportunity - beach and other clean-ups  and oil spills, and at bird sanctuaries where they clean birds that have been affected by oil spills and other pollution.