Saturday, December 24, 2011

The real work of Christmas

The Real Work of Christmas
When the last present has been opened
and the last mouth fed.
When weariness lays like a blanket over all mankind - 
The real work of Christmas begins:
To seek the lost
To support the lonely
To feed the starving
To shelter the homeless
To console the broken
To love the unlovely
To pray for peace 

(c) Liz Babbs

Friday, December 16, 2011

Celtic Christian Spirit Radio - a real gem!

I thought you might like to meet my Californian friend, Keltic Ken, who is a professional radio presenter and broadcaster. Here I am with him, a few months ago, outside KRDU Radio in Fresno, CA. Now Ken, as well as being famous for his sense of humour, also runs a unique Celtic Christian radio service called Celtic Christian Spirit Radio and it's free via the internet. I even listen via the Live 365 app on my iPhone and iPad! He's playing a lovely Christmas selection at the moment. As CCS is a Celtic treasure, I thought I'd ask him a little more about it:

1. What is Celtic Christian Spirit Radio?
It’s Christian music with a Celtic (and sometimes world-beat) sound. Think Riverdance or Enya with Christian lyrics. This is the “best music you’ve never heard” and “Christian music with a Celtic accent.”

          2. How do folks access it?
Go to where there is a link to listen right from the home page. It’s free to listen (with commercials). You can become a VIP member for a nominal fee on Live365 to listen commercial free. There is also a free 365 app for mobile devices for listening anywhere.
3. Why might we want to listen to your radio station?      
Broadcast Christian music has become increasingly homogenized and a cranked out formula. This music is more adventuresome, most of the artists are indie artists, not like what you’ll hear on your local Christian music radio station.
4. Why this Christmas selection?
It is a natural to go to Christmas music this time of year, but the good thing is instead of duplicating what everybody else does there is a wealth of Celtic music suited to this season. Including some ancient carols and music you’ve probably never heard before. I don’t rely on computers to chose the music. I listen to each song one-by-one and select the songs that fit my music station.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hope in Darkness this Advent

Advent is a season of waiting...of preparation...of promise. God is announcing: 'Behold, I make all things new' (Revelations 21:5). But it can be hard to glimpse or even imagine the new when you're stuck in a dark tunnel. And that is many people's experience at this time in the lead up to Christmas. Christmas and New Year can spotlight and heighten the difficulties in our lives and lead to a sense of hopelessness.

But for such a time as this, God gave us Jesus. 'We walk by faith, not by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:7), so despite the darkness and apparent absence of hope, we must hold onto the fact that Jesus, The Light of the World, Emmanuel, is here with us now illuminating a pathway through the darkness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel.

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world. John 9:5

 ‎'The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.' John 1:5

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Celtic Treasure CD in my shop now with FREE track download!

I'm excited, I've just launched my new album Celtic Treasure, in concert with musician Simeon Wood at the Cliff College Festival. You can listen to the track ‘On Lindisfarne’ now, as a FREE MP3 download, just click on this link The CD costs just £7.99 from my website shop  

Celtic Treasure is the spoken word and music recording of Liz Babbs’ popular Celtic Treasure Gift Book (Lion Hudson, 2009). Celtic Treasure weaves together ancient Celtic wisdom and traditional and original prayers, with Simeon’s beautiful evocative music. Celtic Treasure is an exploration of Celtic Christianity and a reflective journey leading the listener into the heart of God.


  1. Introduction
  2. Iona
  3. Lindisfarne
  4. Prayer
  5. Solitude
  6. Creation
  7. Creativity
  8. Community
  9. Personal reflection
  10. Hospitality
  11. Celebration
You can book Simeon and I to perform Celtic Treasure live in concert. We'd love to share our Celtic journey with you - artistically and spiritually.

* To receive exclusive 'free stuff' - sign up for the newsletter via my website

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He is Risen!

I’ve been reflecting on the resurrection and thinking that whatever difficulty we experience in our lives - God can move the stone!
Also, as I prepare to lead sessions on the Bible and Poetry, I’ve been reflecting on the character of God through Song of Songs - God’s poetic love letter to us:
Listen! My beloved!
   Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
   bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
   Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
   peering through the lattice.
My beloved spoke and said to me,
   “Arise, my darling,
   my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
   the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
   the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
   is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
   the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
   my beautiful one, come with me.”
(Song of Songs 2:8-13)
Some years ago, I wrote this poem as a response to the resurrection, inspired by the Song of Songs:
Stone upon stone
upon river 
upon stream
my Lover is calling
He is beckoning to me
A love consummated on a cross
and sealed in a tomb
We rise to new life
Bride and bridegroom.

And I just love the explosion of joy expressed in this worship dance video by First Baptist Church, Houston - Dance Your Shoes Off!

During the Olympics next year, we will be taking to the streets of London to do the same thing. We’ll be allowing our joy in God to explode into dance!
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent: Celtic-style

Something that captures my attention about Celtic Christians is the simplicity of their faith. I think we have much to learn from Celtic Christianity in our busy lives, with overcomplicated schedules and endless church meetings.

Their joy was not based on achievement or material possessions, but in loving and caring for each other and in being grateful for all that God had created for them and blessed them with. I think we need to rediscover that sense of simplicity, thankfulness and wonder - perhaps by fasting from the things that shackle us or get in the way of our relationship with God. Lent is an excellent time to begin living more simply.

What will you give up or take up for Lent?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reluctant Heroes

This month I'm reflecting on St Patrick as it's St Patrick's Day 17th March; and King George VI - with all the Oscar success of the The King's Speech. I recently shared with you a favourite poem of King George VI and the Queen Mother.

But what do St Patrick and King George VI have in common? 

Answer - they were both reluctant heroes.

King George VI reluctantly became King when his brother, King Edward VIII, chose abdication in preference to abandoning his marriage plans to a divorced woman. The oscar winning The King's Speech depicts George's journey from stammering obscurity to King of Great Britain.

St Patrick was not Irish, neither can he have been particularly keen on Ireland originally, because when he was sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and sold into slavery there! He escaped six years later when God appeared to him in a vision and showed him how to escape. Some years later God sent him back to Ireland as priest and he later became Bishop of Ireland.

Which reminds me of the prophet Jonah who when summoned by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh, ran in the other direction! It took Jonah three days of whale captivity for him to change his mind!
Listening to God is a challenging business. I wonder if you've ever wanted to run from the call of God? I know I have! When God called me to become a missionary, I wanted to run away. I was reluctant, because I thought God would send me to India or Africa. Thank goodness God knows our hearts and uses us where we are and where we can most effectively serve him.

In order to follow God's leading, we need God's strength. I love this prayer attributed to St Patrick. Try praying it aloud several times:
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of Sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightening,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
Celtic Treasure

'I can do all things through him who gives me strength.' Philippians 4:13

Monday, February 21, 2011

How I became interested in Celtic Christianity

Ten years ago I spent some time travelling across Britain visiting Scotland, Northumbria and Ireland while writing my first Celtic gift book The Celtic Heart (Lion, 2003). Originally, this book did not have a Celtic theme, but during my trip across Britain, I found myself increasingly drawn to, and inspired by, the radical faith and lifestyle of the Celtic saints. They have left a lasting impression on the landscape, and have touched the hearts of countless people across the centuries.

When I sailed with friends by yacht to Iona, I felt an incredible sense of connection with these saints and their passion to make Jesus known. Even the difficulty we had anchoring, reminded me of the incredible dangers these monastic missionaries faced on the open seas—many dying sharing their faith.

But it was when I visited the stunningly beautiful tidal island of Lindisfarne (or Holy Island), that I realized I was no longer a tourist, but a pilgrim in search of ‘the ancient paths’. An inner transformation had taken place that deepened my faith and began to change the course of my writing.

Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
(Jeremiah 6:16)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Putting your hand into the hand of God

'So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.' (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Many folk by now will have broken their New Year resolutions. But does it really matter? The Bible doesn’t tell us to put our trust in man-made resolutions, but in God. During these uncertain and troubling times, we especially need to put our hand into his, and trust him to guide, strengthen and support us.  

'Stop stressing. I'm here for you. Hold on to me and let me sort things out.' (Isaiah 41:10) My translation!

To put your hand into God’s requires surrender - a letting go into God. I sometimes visualize this as falling back into his arms. 

* So let's imagine putting our hand into the hand of God now. Can you visualize this? 

I love this famous poem sometimes referred to as 'The Gate of the Year'. It was this poem that the Queen Mother, a devout Christian, asked to be read at her funeral. This poem was a source of comfort throughout her life and she had  it engraved on the gates of the Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, where her husband, King George VI, was interred. King George VI (you may have seen Colin Firth as the King in the 'The King's Speech'), quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire. 

I said to the man
who stood at the gate of the year
“Give me a light that I may tread safely
into the unknown.”
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be better than light
and safer than a known way!”
So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
trod gladly into the night.
M. Louise Haskins (1875-1957)