It is hard to believe that the year has passed so quickly. I thought “my goodness” on Tuesday morning as I was putting the order of service together for this coming Sunday, 21 November, the Sunday of “Christ the King” and I was thinking that the following Sunday will be the First Sunday of Advent, 28 November.
We will be putting the Christmas Tree up and setting up the Advent Crown in the Sanctuary as we begin our countdown to Christmas Day! Another year nearly gone!
There was a good turnout for the Remembrance Service when we remembered the Sacrifice made by so many for the peace of the world, our freedom and for democracy. It has been a difficult time since the year 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully we are now learning to live with it, and we thank God for the gift of science and the speedy production of vaccines to help us cope with the pandemic. Thankfully we are able now to live with fewer restrictions and we remember the key workers and particularly the NHS staff who will be dealing with an enormous backlog of work. We thank God for the NHS staff.
As we prepare for Christmas, may we not forget about those for whom this time of the year can be a struggle - not a time of joy but a time of stress. Jesus and his mother Mary and Father Joseph would certainly identify with this. Mary giving birth in a cave (we romanticise it with a byre) with farm animals. However, nowhere is too lowly for God’s presence and blessings. Shepherds, prompted by angels, see the child born to die for us. The wisemen bring their gifts to signify Jesus’ status and purpose: gold to reveal his royalty, frankincense to reveal his divinity as it was used in spiritual ritual, and myrrh which was used when burying the dead to reveal that Jesus was born to die for the sins of the world. And of course, his birth was heralded by angels from heaven which revealed the source of Jesus as heavenly.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us not forget the source of Christmas and the reason: God’s gift to the world, Jesus Christ, who after being born was forced to flee the wrath of a King fearful for his position. Let us remember that many in the present world, like Jesus did with his parents, flee the powers of tyranny and the like.
This Christmas and every Christmas may we remember to pray for those who will struggle even to have a half decent meal on Christmas Day or may not even have a place to shelter or lay their head or find warmth or shelter from the elements.
We will be gathering toys for Geeze A Break, our usual choice of charity for this time of year. It would be great if when you come along to church if you could bring a gift for children or adults, not wrapped, on Sunday 5 December when we will have our Gift Service. The service will be a wee bit different from our usual Gift Service due to COVID-19 restrictions as the uniformed organisations won’t be present. But it would be a shame if Geeze a Break were to miss out. Communion Sunday will be Sunday 12 December.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation we will not have a Christmas Eve Watchnight Service, but we will have a Christmas Day Service at 10.30am when we will share Holy Communion. Also a Sunday Service on Boxing Day at 11am.
Hopefully and we pray that next year 2022 we will be back to normal, and the spread of the virus will be much more curtailed.
I would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the mission of the Church of Scotland at Dennistoun New, and a special thanks to those who have been performing various tasks for us throughout the Pandemic.
I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Kirk Session, Liz and myself to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful and Healthy 2022. May the coming year be full of blessings for us all.
Your Friend and Minister
Rev. Ian McInnes