Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh
Christmas Eve Services: 11 am and 11.30 pm
Christmas Day Service: 11 am
Letter from the Manse
I always see December being the countdown to Christmas! The commercial world has no hesitation in reminding us how many shopping days are left until Christmas. A few years ago I was invited to become Chaplain to the Independent Traders in Scotland. This was a position I held for many years. I was always invited to their annual get-together, usually at some grand hotel. And I was always given an opportunity to speak.
One year I discovered that there are only two words that are the same in every language in the world. One is a spiritual word, the other a commercial word. The two words are ‘Amen’ and ‘Coca-Cola’. Wherever you go in the world here are the only two words that are universally understood. This was a link I had that year between the Church and the world of Scottish Independent Traders. I thanked them for their celebration of Christmas. Good for them if they seize and opportunity to increase sales at Christmas time. In a time of increasing rejection of all things religious – well done to our independent traders for keeping Christmas.
A friend and colleague told me of how last year the local shops in his little Aberdeenshire town removed the word Christmas from their window displays and replaced it with ‘Festive’ or ‘Holiday’. They said it was to avoid those who might object! But there was one shop that stood out. Only one shop in the town square had a little nativity scene centre stage in their window display. That shop was owned and run by a Muslim family.
The whole shopping experience at Christmas time can be a great part of the fun and anticipation, but I believe an even greater part of the joy of Christmas is sharing the Christmas story together. It is in giving our presents and gifts that we echo the gift giving of the wise men and ultimately the gift giving of God who gives us his Son.
Here is the real reason to celebrate and to rejoice through our carol singing, our feasting, our gift giving and our worship. I hope that you will manage to enjoy our celebrations this year and to be blessed in so doing and being. On behalf of our Ministry Team, I wish you all a joyous Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year in 2018.
Rev Dr Jim Jack