What does Christmas mean for you? Is it something you look forward to or is it something which you dread coming round every December?

The shops are full of gifts, the town centre streets of Holmfith (and Honley and Huddersfield too) are lit up and the TV is full of adverts (are there more toy adverts this year than ever before or is it just me?)

Read more: What does Christmas mean for you?

It’s been a difficult time for heroes. First, we had the revelations about Jimmy Savile, the eccentric television personality accused by many of being a longstanding predatory paedophile. Then, a report on seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong suggested that his famous victories were made possible by use of performance-enhancing drugs. In both cases, disgrace was total and sudden, the plummet from acclaim to shame breathtaking. 

Read more: No more heroes? (with thanks to J John)

In the Gospel books we find Jesus referring to His followers in a number of ways; as friends, as brothers and sisters, but most frequently as ‘disciples.’

A disciple was more than a follower or an admirer, he or she was someone who devoted themselves entirely to their master; learning, copying and sticking with them through thick and thin.

Read more: Being a Disciple

I have quite clear memories of Sundays when I was growing up. I wasn’t brought up in a committed Christian family, so church rarely had much to do with it.  It was a day for family and for visiting grandparents; it was a day sometimes for playing and watching sport. It certainly wasn’t a day for shopping, ‘cos I don’t remember any shops being open on a Sunday other than the newsagents for a few hours in the morning.

Read more: 24x7 Living?...