You know the deal…

1) Aleppo. Lord, have mercy. Devastating scenes from the Syrian city have made their way to our screens this week. How do we respond in such a way that isn’t just virtue signalling? This piece from Open Doors has some helpful information and practical action points.

2) Ten Ways to Be a Christian This Christmas – Some helpful nuggets and simple reminders.

3) Scorcese’s ‘Silence’ Asks What It Really Costs to Follow JesusSilence is just about pipping Rogue One to the prestigious honour of probably being the first film I see in the cinema since… yup, the previous Star Wars movie last Christmas. Ah, the joys of parenting under-3’s. But seriously, this looks fascinating – and that means I should probably go read the book too.

4) Three Ways to Become a Christmas-Loving Pastor – Ok, so just one week to go. If you’re in church ministry then you may be up to your neck in carol services and the like. Some good soul-fodder here from Ronnie Martin to keep our hearts soft to the wonder.

5) Santa – Yay or Nay? – Carl Laferton offers three reasons why as a Christian he doesn’t do Santa with his kids. As you can imagine, the comments thread on the post is well worth a read too! Carl does make clear this is something Christians are free to disagree on, although he’s also wanting us to consider the issue rather than just doing what we do because that’s what everyone does. Also, Kevin DeYoung seeks to answer ‘who was St Nicholas anyway?’ A final resource worth checking out is Annie Kratzsch’s book, Just Nicholas, which offers what I think is a really helpful line: St Nicholas was basically a Christian dude who lived a long time ago and who gave out presents – and so it’s fun to dress up as him, and give out presents – after all, God’s a generous God. Anyway, either way, you’ve got a few days to decide…

6) The Collected Best Christian Books of 2016 – We’ve well and truly entered end-of-year ‘list’ season now, which apparently is what the internet was made for. Here Tim Challies consolidates a number of different ‘favourite Christian books of 2016’ lists, and offers his own reflections too. I’m still working on my ‘Top 10 books I bought but never read in 2016’ blogpost…

7) Year in Search 2016 – Google’s annual round-up of the year has become a bit of a twenty-first century tradition. Film-maker Dan Rackham of Go Chatter offers this Christian response.

On the Blog This Week:

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