“Look towards Christmas Advent is here!”
Where on earth did that year go? At the office here we have a “Christmas Preparation” list. It’s come out of hiding and will now guide us through the next few (only a few!) weeks.
When I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the northern hemisphere for Christmas I have marvelled how Christmas is like a shining jewel in the middle of short dark days. Here, it is a potentially happy and festive time in the middle of blazing sun (especially sun at the moment). I like the line of one of Colin Gibson’s carols “Laughter in the breakers, laughter in the breakers is their Christmas hymn.”
I have to say, though, I love the symbolism of candles at Christmas. If my house ever burns down through a surfeit of candles it will be at Christmas. The advent wreath is my favourite part. The lighting of one candle a week, and the idea of light progressively burning brighter and brighter really appeals.
The lit candle is also a quiet symbol. There can be so much rush and bustle around this time that it is hard to keep up. Also, Christmas isn’t always a great bubbly happy time for everyone. It can be a reminder of who’s missing at the table. It can be a painful rubbing-in of the smallness of our friendship circles. It can be economically painful too as we might stretch ourselves with gift giving.
I remember a Christmas when we were hard up. I thought I’d save money by baking a variety of biscuits and putting them in attractive cake tins as gifts. Well! I bought attractive cake tins alright but they were quite big and required a lot of biscuits to fill them up! And, attractive cake tins don’t come cheap either! And of course, ingredients add up when you’re making something special. It was not an inexpensive Christmas after all. I would have been better to save the time spent baking and visit the people for a cuppa and a long chat.
I hope you can find your way through the season with maximum joy-filled moments and a minimal number of difficult ones. Even if you can’t, be assured that, as at all the other times of the year, Love surrounds you every moment of every day.
This Sunday Pat Booth and her team will start Advent with a focus on Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. Next Sunday the Rainbow Room Play will be the focus, then on the 17th, carols. Sunday 24th has two opportunities to gather – a usual Sunday Gathering at 10am and the Christmas Eve Special at 7.30pm for 8pm. Christmas Day will be 10am, led by Fiona McDougal. That’s Advent! Don’t forget this Sunday is a festive lunch (brought by you all) following church.
P.S. The Church of Scotland produces an online advent calendar. A new video is release at midnight our time each day of advent. Here’s the link http://churchofscotland.advent-calendar.net/
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