Having ancestral roots which stretch back to deepest Senegal, -where the sun shines brightly and the sky is blue, -I have to admit that I’m not very fond of the British Wintertime. If I were a penguin, I’d probably be in my element, but as a semi-tropical bird I prefer it to be warm, bright and cheerful outside. Extrovert parrots need extrovert weather!
And yet, this is also a very special time of year. We’re now into the season which the Church calls “Advent.” Being something of a Latin scholar, I can tell you that the word “Advent” comes from the Latin “Adventus” meaning “coming.” So even on the darkest, wettest and most miserable of days, Advent provides us with a sense of promise, anticipation and hope. Because we’re counting down the days to Jesus’ birthday.
However, gazing down from the perspective of my high parrot perch, I do see a bit of a snag to all this. Because some humans, -especially small ones, -can think of Jesus’ birthday as being rather like a second birthday for themselves. So that during Advent, they start to make all sorts of requests about what they’d like to receive for Christmas. And I’m reminded of the story of the little girl who lived with her mum and her grandma…
Every night, this human girl was put to bed by both her mother and her grandma. And being Christian, they always encouraged her to say her prayers before she went to sleep. So a few weeks before Christmas, the little girl was praying out loud with the eyes shut and her hands clasped together. “Dear Jesus” she prayed. “Please look after mum and grandma and all of the children around the world.” And then she added, shouting at the top of her voice: “And please can I have a bicycle for Christmas!”
Her mother, taken aback said: “There’s no need to shout. God isn’t deaf.”
“No” said the little girl. “But grandma is!”
As we go through life, we all have to learn that the birth of Jesus was and continues to be the greatest gift that any of us will ever receive. Because His offer of salvation, hope and eternal life will outlast even the very best of all bicycles. And what makes it all the more special is that the gift of Jesus comes wrapped up in a covering of love…
“Politicians compete for the highest offices. Business tycoons scramble for a bigger and bigger piece of the pie. Armies march and scientists study and philosopher philosophise and preachers preach and labourers sweat. But in that silent baby, lying in that humble manger, there pulses more potential power and wisdom and grace and aliveness than all the rest of us can imagine.”
(Brian D. McLaren: 1956-present: American pastor, author and broadcaster).
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2: 8-11).
About my book:
“The Random Thoughts of a Christian Parrot” is published in hardback, 176 pages in length, full colour throughout and featuring more than 100 photographs. The ISBN is 978-1-5272-9810-1 and copies cost £12.00. The book includes a Foreword written by the Bishop of Crediton plus a total of 83 reflections which can serve as your “parrot thought of the day.”
Copies are available from Amazon, some bookshops or direct from me! If ordering direct, please enclose a cheque for £12.00 made out to the “Oakmoor Group of Parishes” and send it to: Coco the Parrot, Parkstone, George Nympton Village, EX36 4JE, U.K. Postage and packing is free!
100% of proceeds will go towards funding the work of local North Devon parishes, and particularly a new Outdoor Church initiative located on the edge of Exmoor. My book will make a great Christmas present for friends and family!
This is what others have to say about my book:
“I grant you, a book by a feathered friend is novel, but with this parrot, faith finds its wings. It is intelligent, kind and spiritually perceptive – more than can be said for some religious functionaries. I wonder if dog collars come in parrot sizes?”
(Dave Tomlinson: Priest, author and broadcaster)
“The mix of humour, challenge, biblical text and photography along with the views of our perceptive parrot, make this book a unique reflection on our twenty-first century lives.”
(Right Reverend Jackie Searle: Bishop of Crediton)
“Sometimes human wisdom just isn’t enough. Standing or flying outside our messy, confusing, but glorious lives, Coco the parrot helps us to look afresh at the things that really matter and the ways we can re-connect with God’s love – so that we too can soar!”
(Giles King-Smith: Acting Archdeacon of Barnstaple)