Ruth Dickinson

What does Christmas mean for you? At a time that can be all about family and consumption, if you don’t have the means to do either, it’s easy to feel isolated or disappointed. If you do, it’s very easy to lose focus.

This is one of the reasons we’ve created an Advent prayer calendar. One of our aims as a magazine is to help you to connect with other Christians. What better way than to pray a simple prayer together, knowing thousands of others around the country will be doing the same?

If you need more encouragement, look no further than our profile interview with Pete Greig, the founder of 24-7 Prayer. Our deputy editor Lucinda returned from their international gathering in Dublin full of hope, having heard story after story of how God has inspired thousands of people around the world to new lives of prayer.

Can we live lives this expectant? Can we believe that our prayers over the Advent season could actually make a difference? I really hope so.

I’m also excited this month to showcase some incredible examples of the Bible having an impact on culture. First Malcolm Gladwell, who, as Martin Saunders writes, might not be a theologian but has 50 times the global influence of Tom Wright, has chosen a biblical story for the basis of his latest book.

Secondly, The Bible will be coming to a Channel 5 near you this December. Produced on a moderate budget, the TV series wasn’t expected to be a crowd pleaser. And yet millions watched it in America. Will it have the same impact here?

And so back to Christmas, the time of giving as well as receiving. The last thing we intended with the cover is to make anyone feel guilty. And yet, there is something grotesque about the fact that the Brits spend the same amount on tinsel as many in the majority world earn in a year. But no amount of hectoring will help anyone to address this in their own lives. All we can do is remember that every last thing comes from God. A good way of seeing how close you are to God is to see how much you want to give away. Not because you feel guilty, or because you feel you should, but because blessing others blesses God. I hope Lucinda’s feature on helps you to take your own spiritual temperature.

Whether you’re feeling thrifty, gluttonous surrounded by family, alone, guilty, homeless, feeding homeless people, depressed or joyful, there is a place for you at the table. Come and feast with the King.