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Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh



Sunday Services are at 10.30 am

Wednesday Stillness Services are at 10 am

Letter from the Manse

November 2019

Dear Friends

So Jim asked, ‘Would you like to write something for Kirk Matters for Christmas. You’ve never done it before and maybe they would like to hear from you?’ Well, I hope you do!

Lots of people have, I think, a favourite Christmas film and some would go as far as to say that Christmas isn’t complete without a box of chocolates, a comfy seat and an afternoon watching ‘The Wizard of Oz’ or ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ or ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’

Well, for me that film would be ‘A Christmas Carol’. I’m not picky about the version; it’s the story that ever since childhood has captured my imagination. As a child I was terrified when Ebenezer Scrooge found himself led by the ghost of Christmas future to stare at his own tombstone. I was delighted by the grumpy old man running into the street and I cried when the turkey was brought into the house of Tiny Tim. I suppose all of this only makes any sense if you have watched and liked the film.

Stories have the power not only to transport us into imaginary worlds but also to inspire us to be better people. When I later read the philosopher Kierkegaard I thought, how much easier to read ‘A Christmas Carol’ in order to think that when we contemplate our own death it throws perspective of our lives!

A film affords the watcher the opportunity to identify with the characters. Sometimes I am Scrooge; grumpily moaning about writing Christmas cards, the commercialisation, the October start of the Christmas season, or the lack of decent television programmes for the dark winter nights. The other day I was with my nephew who was moaning about his family Christmas (as teenagers do!). I reminded him that one day he would look back on it and it might well have a rosy glow with the ghost of Christmas past chuckling beside him ... he just groaned!

But beyond the identification with the story, there has always been something of the Christian message that lies deep in Dickens’ novel. The story has always said to me that it’s possible for anyone to change, that love is the greatest of all forces, and that acts of kindness have redemptive power. So I don’t know if Jim will sit down and watch it with me ... but I will be watching if it’s on ... hopefully in the middle of an afternoon, the black and white version and with a box of chocolates.

May you all find a good film to watch, good food and good company over Christmas and, more important than anything else, a renewed experience of the love of God.

Rev. Liz