On this day a child was born, at this time a son was given and his name was called Christopher Luketon John Dryden.
Up until last night I wasn’t particularly bothered about putting together a blog about a day like today. I don’t think I’ve done it in the past. That all changed when I got the package from my sister which turned out to be my birthday gift. On the back of the packaging she put on a greeting that I couldn’t ignore. The text on it basically said Merry Christophermas! I’ve never had that before and it got me thinking about how good it is to celebrate someone’s birthday on his birthday! That’s a novel idea, might work in other areas as well if it was called for.
Anyway on this Christophermas Day I give God thanks for all the contributors to the life of Christopher Dryden. Thanks to my wonderful parents who invested their lives into making me a man who feared God and understood that without Him I would not make any progress in life. Thanks to two precious siblings who kept me sharp and have stuck by me, encouraging, scolding, rebuking, consoling, inspiring and sharing life with me.
Thanks to the church in which I grew up in Wellingborough which was a reliable stalwart of faith during those crucial formative years and brought a lot of smiles to my face and grounded me with an appreciation for the Bible.
Thanks to those schools that kept me occupied in those crucial formative years of my life – Croyland Nursery, Hardwick Infants, Victoria Infants and Victoria Junior. Thanks to those teachers who oversaw what educational development I made in those years. Thanks to the neighbours in Minerva Way and others in that Queensway estate who for me made my first seven years of existence appear in mind’s eye to be rather idyllic.
Thanks to Wrenn School for the years spent from naïve youngster to naïve know-it-all teenager. Thanks to the great teachers who irrevocably impacted my life not just with their love of education and teaching, but their obvious delight in helping people. Thanks to the other pupils whose engagement with me over that time was memorable for one reason or another.
Thanks to Essex University for the essential growing up years that needed to take place in exposing me to the big bad and good and indifferent world. Thanks for the people who opened my eyes to the fact that people don’t fit easy boxes and life is so wonderfully messy, diverse and complex. Thanks to the Windsor Fellowship and the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (at the time) that also significantly gave so much in terms of work-life
Thanks to the folks at the church in Peckham who took me in during the university years and made me feel a part of them. Thanks to the love and grace of some people who took me under their wing and tried to help cultivate someone still very rough around the edges. Thanks to the care, attention and wider perspective of fellowship and church than I had previously known.
Thanks to the people on the CAMP Committee and in the CAMP Choir for years of insight into worship and offering God the best in song and through music. Thanks for the lessons of voluntary team work and administration – commitment and being at your best giving all you can and not performing to impress others.
Thanks to the British Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) that has given me the foundation of the faith in which I grew up. Thanks for the many characters who over my time on earth so far have made this journey so eventful, rich in incident and fascinating in its insight in religion, spirituality, culture, fellowship, worship, organisation administration, leadership, communication and building corporate identity.
Thanks to those who have journeyed with me in my years in Stoke-on-Trent – UCB/Cross Rhythms, Blue Mountain Housing Association, Staffordshire University Library and Learning Resource Services, MA Broadcast Journalism at Staffs University, North Staffordshire Racial Equality Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Manchester Metropolitan University Education Unit, North Staffordshire YMCA, North Staffordshire African Caribbean Association, Saltbox Christian Centre and the various partnerships made with individuals over that time. Thanks to the various individuals I’ve come across in this time who have tremendously enriched my life through their example, conversation and inspiration. Thanks to the friends that I’ve made over this time who have really impressed me with the love they share and the way it has changed my heart and head.
Thanks to the members, associates and friends past and present of StokeCOG who have all played their part in affecting my whole understanding of what it is to be church. Thanks to that faith network that has made life so rewarding even in its darkest hour. Thanks to the exciting journey of church development and walking and talking the faith.
Thanks to all those people who popped up on the journey in those one shot moments of life never to be seen again but whose input has undoubtedly help write the story thus far. Thanks to the characters, personalities and figures across various media – books, magazines, web-sites, blogs, music, TV, radio, movies, etc. who have imprinted their creativity into my psyche.
Thanks to two delightful daughters who give me the honour and privilege of fathering. Thanks for their uninhibited love and smiles which they unfurl to melt my heart. Thanks for their stubbornness and insubordinate behaviour that hardens my resolve to let them know how out of love I need them to change their ways. Thanks for their capacity to learn and grow and their infectious spirit of life that reminds me that the purpose of life is to live so that others may enjoy their purpose to life.
Thanks to the partner of days that changed my life and my whole way of seeing the world around me and showing me that true love is more costly and more rewarding than could possibly be imagined. Thanks to the lover of my life who has such a huge heart that overwhelms me in its manifold expressions of that love. Thanks to the companion on life’s journey who loves to offload the issues that oppress and depress as well as excite and delight. Thanks for this supporter of her husband who has dedicated the rest of our days together to love in all of its fullness.
Thanks to the Heavenly Father who has allowed this wayward son to blunder from mishap to tragedy and been there to console and pick him up. Thanks to Him for calling me His son and marking an identity for me and giving me a purpose with gifts and abilities to assist but an innate dependence on Him for all that He is and does. Thanks to the Son who stands as a role model and focus of faith whose self-less life, passionate ministry, dynamic teaching, engaging healing, solid companionship, brutal death, triumphant resurrection, magnificent ascension and glorious return gives more than hope for life lived now. Thanks to the Servant King for showing grace and truth and equipping me with that desire and ability to keep that Kingdom agenda going in all of my life.
I have been a noted loner, but as already evidenced in this abbreviated roll-call of times and places, there are so many different faces that have been a part of the story and made it what it is today. Thanks to those and so many others who may have been overlooked. Thanks for your input good and bad. Thanks for making this a happy Christophermas.
For His Name's Sake