THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – 14TH December, 2016.

Christmas is always a good time for films on TV. This year’s no exception with old favourites like Miracle on 34th Street and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ there are also TV premieres of more recent films – ‘The lady in the van’ with Maggie Smith is one not to miss and then there’s ‘Paddington’ which I’m sure will have his fans of all ages glued to their tv! Paddington Bear celebrates his 60th birthday this year as it was Christmas Eve in 1956 that a BBC cameraman Michael Bond bought a small toy bear left alone on a shelf in Selfridges in London which inspired him to write the first book of stories. “A Bear Called Paddington’. In total, more than 150 titles have been published ranging from the original novels, which appeal to all ages, right through to board books aimed at Paddington’s very youngest fans. Then again this week we heard that Travelodge the hotel chain often has to reunite Teddy bears left in hotel rooms with their owners. Surprisingly it’s not only children who inadvertently leave their teddies behind, but travellers of all ages from construction workers to high flying executives – all in need of the comfort of their much loved teddy bears! – now that’s a surprise!

Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus the Old Testament prophet spoke of the promise of comfort that would come to a people who were suffering oppression and who lived under the darkness of their own sin and rebelliousness. Christmas is the fulfilment of that promise. Just look at what happened that first Christmas – no room at the Inn, the afterthought of a harassed innkeeper hastily led Mary and Joseph to an animal shed with not even a hint of someone giving up their room for a young girl nearing her time and a desperate husband at his wits end with worry. Little comfort here we may say, but we would be wrong because God was in complete control as angels sang and shepherds rushed from the hillside with Kings from afar already on their way. Mary and Joseph were never alone and neither are we. God is now with us – Jesus is born, light for our darkness. ‘O tidings of comfort and joy!

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