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Viewpoint from Rev Peter Paine 18/12/09

 Dove right

Admit it, you've been there (and you may be there again in just a few days). You receive a gift that makes you grimace -- a green tie with blue stars, perhaps, or a battery-operated potato peeler. You can't be impolite and say, "I don't like it. I want to exchange it" So what do you say? Fortunately someone has come up with "The Top Ten Things to Say About a Christmas Gift You Don't Like":
10.              Hey! Now there's a gift!
9.              Well, well, well ...
8.              What a shame! If I hadn't recently shot up
                  4 sizes, this would've fit.
7.              This is perfect for wearing around the
6.              I hope this never catches fire! It is fire
                 season though.
5.              If the dog buries it, I'll be furious!
4.              I love it -- but I fear the jealousy it will
3.              Sadly, tomorrow I start with my slimming programme.
2.              To think -- I got this the year I vowed to give all my gifts to charity.
1.              "I really don't deserve this."

Whatever you say, you know you'll be standing in line at Asda, M&S or wherever for hours with everyone else who received gifts that were just as horrible.
dove left
There's a beautiful story in 2 Corinthians 8 about a gift that the churches of Macedonia gave to Paul to help out needy Christians in Jerusalem. It was a gift that Paul was reluctant to receive. Not because there was anything wrong with it. Quite the opposite -- it was a generous gift. Perhaps too generous. The Christians who gave it were not at all wealthy, so the gift seemed excessive.

"For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." (2 Cor 8:3-4)

The reason that their gift was so generous and so special, though, was because of another gift they had given: "And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God." (2 Cor 8:5)

Want to give a gift that will never need to be exchanged? Give yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord. It's certain to be exactly what He wants this year!
May I wish you all a very blessed Christmas and also to pass on my thanks to all the team both at Viewpoint and also in the Mercury offices for all they do. God Bless you all.
from Peter Paine Port Chaplain
 member of the Gorleston Baptist Church
Christmas blessings to everyone!  I would like to thank all of our writers for their wonderful Viewpoint articles throughout 2009. God bless you all in 2010.
 from Yvonne Hill
 Seventh-day Adventist Church
Interesting, inspiring, uplifting.  Thank you so much for the effort you all put into your viewpoints this year.  Keep up the good work, and may God richly bless you and your families in 2010.
 from Roger Hill
Member Seventh-day Adventist Church
I would like to wish all of our readers a very happy Christmas.  This year has been a bit of a roller-coaster year in both events and emotions for me and I expect many readers can relate to that.  So I wish everyone one a peaceful and happy 2010
 from Judith Edmonds
Member of Park Baptist Church
Copy of VIEWPOINTS 001My prayer for you  this Christmas is that the God of Peace, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, may bless you all and give you His peace 
 from Veronica Baldwin
Member of Gorleston Baptist Church