Rector’s Letter – from Dec/Jan Church Magazine

Dear friends,

I am a great believer in making lists of the things I need to do. As you can imagine, at times during this last year my lists have been quite long and challenging. Some weeks I have wondered how I could possibly get to the end of them. At times like this, I have turned to the prayer of St Teresa of Avilla which I included in my first letter to you as your Rector a year ago and which has become my spiritual To Do List:

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Many of you will have already started making lists in preparation for Christmas. It is so easy to allow the run-up to the Festive Season to become a gruelling sequence of shopping trips, card-writing, meals, visits, concerts, services etc. which leaves us frazzled and frustrated. I hope that our Advent services will remind us that there is another way to prepare for Christmas. I dare you this year to find some time to stop and be still, if only for a few minutes. I dare you to make time to read a few verses of Matthew’s Gospel. I dare you to join me in writing a Christmas wish list – not of things you want to buy or consume, but of things that truly bring you joy and comfort. My list would include a long walk in the countryside with Sean and Jinni, listening to music with Davie, time to lie in bed reading a good detective novel or to watch some of the films I have missed. I wonder what your deepest wishes are and what you would want for your family or friends and for the world? I wonder how they could become part of your Christmas preparation.

Our Christmas services will follow the usual pattern except that our Carol Service this year will be on the last Sunday of Advent and will feature Christmas carols chosen by members of the congregation. You are welcome to contact me with the title of a carol you wish to be included or to add it to the list at the back of church. This service, followed by mince pies and mulled wine, will be a great opportunity to invite family, friends or neighbours to church. We will also be holding, for the first time, a Quiet Service on the Friday evening before Christmas. If you know of anyone who has had a hard year for whatever reason and will find the Christmas festivities difficult, please let them know about this service, or, even better, offer to bring them. There will be no carol singing, just time to reflect, recall, regroup in the peaceful, prayerful atmosphere of the church. Please pray that those who come will find the space and hope which the Christmas story offers.

May this Advent and Christmas be a time of joy and blessing for you and your loved ones.

With love,