Lead Me, Guide Me, Walk Beside Me

Tomorrow will be the second consecutive Sunday that our family of four will have been to church.

It’s all so strange…  Personally, I do consider myself to be ‘partially religious’.  I do believe in God, but I couldn’t really care.  I am, if you like, agnostic.  I used to have faith.  I used to regularly go to church as a child, and as a teenager.  When I was in my early twenties, something just snapped inside of me.  I don’t know what it was, or what had caused it, but I was on the verge of breaking.

I can remember driving around one Christmas Eve, looking for a Christmas Carol service.  I must have driven past five or six churches, and looked at their notice boards.  All of them stated that the Carol service had been previously held.  There was not even a special “midnight service” to thank God for the life of Jesus.  It was at that point, as I finally pulled the car over and cried, that I knew I had lost my Faith.

It’s terrible to say, and I have only ever told one person about this before (hubby dearest).  He has never judged me.  For he is an agnostic too.

Several years ago, hubby had proposed, and we were planning a wedding…  I had considered enquiring in a beautiful church in my local village, as my parents and my grandparents (on my fathers side) were married there.  But I never considered myself religious, so I thought a church wedding could be audacious.  My Faith had started to slowly rebuild before the proposal, but I still felt that I needed to regain Gods’ trust, so I let the idea slip completely, thinking that maybe one day in the future, on an anniversary, that we may ask for a marriage Blessing in church.

Gning was Baptised on 1 April 2012.  I can remember everything perfectly about the day, and indeed the lead up to the event.  It was a beautiful day – the sun was shining; everyone dressed up beautifully; and Gning was the last of 3 babies on that day to be Baptised, and welcomed in to the church.  It certainly was a joyous event, and I was – and still am – so happy that we made the decision to have him Baptised.

When Donut arrived, I was eager to get the date booked to have him Baptised, so I could thank God for the life of a second child.  We enquired with the church where Gning was Blessed, only to be told that they are fully booked until March 2016.  Personally, I think they are not fully booked at all, and that they are just trying to put us off booking there, but that’s a story for another time; and I was just not prepared to wait.

Last week the four of us took a trip to beautiful St Michael’s church in the village.  It was a lovely service – lots of families and children, and Gning enjoyed the Superhero theme.  After the service, we had a chat with one of the church wardens about getting Donut Baptised there, and they said that they would be honoured to welcome him in to the church there.

This now brings us full circle…  We have to attend the church every Sunday on the lead up to the Baptism.  This will integrate us in to the church community, and will show the vicar (is that the right word now-a-days?  I’m still so new to all this…) that we are serious about wanting Donut to be an active member of the church.  It’s definitely different.  I never thought that in my mid-thirties that I would be joining a church, and being an active church-goer.  To be honest though, I love the idea.  It’s helping with my Faith even more, ensuring we spend time together as a family – doing something because we want to, rather than because we feel we have to, giving us a purpose to get up of a Sunday, and giving structure to our lives.  It’s funny how one little tiny thing can change your life forever, and I thank God for that.

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Away in a Manger

It’s been in the news a lot over the past couple of weeks, primarily in the UK.  I’m unsure if this actually affects the rest of the world, but I think it’s about time to spread the word.

Christmas.  It’s a celebration that occurs once a year, on 25 December.  We rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Granted, a lot of the religion has left Christmas now…

For most, it’s about giving and receiving presents.  Eating a massive meal, that normally makes you feel sick afterwards.  Spending a bit of time with family.  Watching bad TV…  I’m wondering.  Why have just one day for that?  I mean I regularly visit my parents.  We regularly eat a big meal together, and we sometimes give small gifts; “just because”.  Why should I do the same on Christmas Day?  Surely the day is meant for something more…

Oh wait.  It is.  Here’s that word again.  Religion.

Am I right in saying that religion is no longer a part of Christmas?  I’m sorry to say that I do believe, in most peoples’ celebrations, it has isn’t.

The UK is a multi-cultural set of countries.  We have so many races and religions here, that it’s impossible to list them all.  Like it or not, the United Kingdom is a Christian country.  Yes, I said it.  We’re CHRISTIAN.  That means that the governing religion is the Church of England.  The Queen (long may she reign) is the keeper of the throne until the true leader returns.  This being Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, and this is where I feel I am going to be attacked, the UK has had to throw away a lot of its’ Christian faith traditions due to the fear that we are insulting those of other faiths.  A lot of places are unable to even fly the Union Jack…  Now what that’s got to do with religion is beyond me.

For many years, there has been an amazing tradition in schools throughout the UK.  It’s a time of year that some parents dread, and some parents love.  It’s a chance for their child/ren to dress up, and take part in a play of the “Greatest Story Ever Told”.  The Nativity.

I never went to a church school.  I went to a “community” school; which meant that anyone from any faith was welcome.

I can remember in nursery (pre-school), I was always an angel.  I was never one of the main characters, but one of the angels that just sort of “floated” around in the background.  Mainly because they had run out of spaces in the play, but yet everyone in the nursery had to be in it.  I can remember the white dress…  I’m fairly sure it was made out of an old bed sheet.  My hair was loose around my shoulders, my thick NHS glasses covered a patch over my eye (sight problems), and I donned a “beautiful” halo, made out of tacky gold tinsel (did you get the sarcasm there?).  It was quite literally hell on earth.  I loved it.

nativity-play1

I’m immediately underneath the red arrow.

When I dropped my son off at nursery this morning, I asked one of the teachers there if they did any Christmas crafts; like making snowmen or angels out of empty toilet roll tubes, or even make Christmas cards…  The response I got was a blank look, and a simple “no”.  Granted, my son goes to a private nursery where I have to pay for him to be there, but surely because I am paying, they should do some form of request..?!  What shocked me most of all was the lack of Christmas decorations.  I enquired to their where-abouts too, to the response of “we’re not allowed to show any bias towards Christmas due to other faiths in the nursery that may not celebrate”.  I was disgusted.  Thankfully, I will be sending my son to a church school…  Surely they will do some form of Christmas crafts / Nativity there..?

Well.  Not necessarily.  This is where we have come full circle to the beginning of my post.  In the news recently, it’s been stated that 95% of schools throughout the UK are not performing the Nativity.  Instead, they are having a “Winter Festival”, or an “End of Year Concert”.  These performances will not have any form of religion what-so-ever, and will include the likes of the importance of recycling; aliens dancing with humans; and more…  No Christmas music either.  That’s not allowed.

The reason?  Because a certain faith has made a complaint that it offends them.

Can I repeat what I said earlier?  If you are going to move to a CHRISTIAN country, you should respect their rules and traditions.  Afterall, if a Christian moved to a country with a different faith, we would probably be shot if we said that some of their traditions offended us.

My conclusion?  We’re in the UK.  If you want to be classed as, and treated as a British citizen, then act like one.  The Nativity has been an important part of UK history since Christianity first came to the country.  Please.  Respect our rights.