The New Year Refill – 7 Links to Begin 2021

So Merry Christmas and seven up…

1) What is God Saying Through 2020? – Andrew Wilson reflects on how the book of James might help us consider, in the providence of God, what 2020 was all about.

2) 2020: The Year For Good News – A headline that may surprise (as most good headlines do!), but I valued David Robertson’s perspective here.

3) The Queen gives us a model of how to talk about faith publicly – Some pertinent reflections on the Queen’s speech this year. Many have noted how Her Majesty has been increasingly open about her faith over the last decade or so – and some have suggested the fact she name-checks Jesus repeatedly makes 2020 perhaps her most evangelistic speech.

4) 20 Pieces of Goodness in 2020 Pop Culture – In the spirit of identifying God’s ‘common grace’ in the world around us (and not just in the Church), this is a fun and positive round-up of some 2020 pop culture ‘diamonds in the rough’, from films and TV shows to YouTube Clips and cultural trends.

5) News from RZIM – Sad and frustrating news coming out of RZIM, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, this past week or so. Seemingly new allegations made against renowned apologist Zacharias, who died in early 2020, emerged last year and a commissioned law firm have published an interim report on them, ahead of a fuller report in Jan/Feb 2021. This was accompanied by a statement from the Exec Committee of the RZIM Board of Directors, followed by internal calls for a radical reform of ‘governance, leadership and accountability’ within the organisation. I appreciated this interview with Dan Paterson, former head of RZIM Australia, and his call for truth, light and integrity, despite the fact some might say covering this up or downplaying it somehow ‘serves the gospel’.

6) ‘A Thrill of Hope’: Celebrating Christmas – Sure, the 25th has been and gone, but we’re still in the traditional twelve days – and anyway, ‘God with Us’ is for life, not just for Christmas, right? The opening five minutes or so of HTB’s Alternative Carols is especially delightful. All Souls offered this more classical affair. And this was our ‘Carols with a Twist’ – perfect for putting on in an evening whilst you write thank you cards or… un-decorate the tree!

7) Nazareth: A Hamilton Parody – Well done Simon Camilleri! Perfect for all lovers of the hit musical.

Last year I also produced a reflection tool called the Life Audit. I haven’t had time to update the dates for 2021, and I’m sure there would be some questions that would be useful to add in light of this past year, but you may still find it a helpful guide to ‘looking back’ and ‘looking forward’. It’s a series of worksheets to print off and ponder your way through, coffee and pen in hand. You can download it for free here.

And for a bit of festive cheer, click the image below to watch our Virtual Nativity – if they had Zoom two thousand years ago…

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Written by Robin Ham