I had a bunch of great friends during my first appointment. As well as being involved in an ecumenical youth ministry, we met up socially for pizzas, video and wine on Friday nights.
We also met soon after Christmas every year. Sue, who was like the mother of the group, always insisted we each named our favourite and worst presents. It gave us a chance to celebrate the kindness of our friends and families, and to let off steam without being nasty regarding the embarrassing gifts.
I remembered that tradition this year when opening my presents. Undoubtedly my favourite present was from my wife: a DVD box set of The West Wing – all seven series on 44 discs. There’s something for my upcoming sabbatical. 🙂
The most embarrassing came from a well-meaning non-Christian friend. It was a mug. A ‘Man Of God’ mug, to be precise. On one side was the beautiful words of Isaiah 40:31, on the other the legend ‘Man of God’ next to a picture of an eagle (as referenced in the text).
My friend meant well, but I hope the reason for my embarrassment is obvious. Of course by grace alone I am a man of God, but it is never a title I would claim for myself. The Christian Church is riddled in every tradition with people who have believed their own hype.
It’s only a year or so since another friend bought me ‘holy socks‘ a.k.a. ‘faith on your feet’. They carry the text from Exodus 3, ‘Take off your shoes, for the ground where you are is holy’. Yes – take off your shoes, but not your socks, apparently. Again, a kind friend who thought that a minister might appreciate something like this, and who wouldn’t understand why some Christians don’t go in for this stuff.
So having hopefully brought a smile to your face, pray do share in the comments below: what have been your best and worst presents over the years? Is there something you might like to admit to that would make the rest of us smile, too?