FROM THE MINISTER
If we are to believe the old marketing slogan, then Christmas is a time for giving. As I write this, the list of the top ten toys for Christmas hasjust been released. I noted some familiar favourites which never seem to age like Lego, Monopoly and Barbie but the most coveted children’s gift is predicted to be a little green monster from Star Wars, all cutely wrapped in sackcloth called ‘Baby Yoda’. Alarmingly, I noticed an entry for a ‘Pooping Flamingo’. Imagine waking up to find one of those inyour stocking, even if it is made from plastic
Even before the Wise Men made it to the manger, the baby Jesus was to be the recipient of gifts whilst still in the womb. The presents took the shape of intangible things: kindness and hospitality. His young parents, struggling to find somewhere to spend the night safely, in an overcrowded Bethlehem, were shown to a stable. We assume that the innkeeper’s hospitality didn’t stop at basic accommodation but extended to food and drink too and thanks to that one simple, human and kind act shown to Mary and Joseph, the baby is born on the first Christmas in a box for animal feed. The incarnation is thus achieved in all its wild contradictions: holiness meets grubbiness; all-powerful meets vulnerability; and God meets humanity.
It is perhaps a sign of getting older and maybe wiser, but my ideas of what constitutes a present are rapidly changing. High monetary value,great intrinsic worth and lavish spending do not always equate with what makes for a well appreciated gift. Some things like human kindness, carefulness and patient companionship can be presents that are beyond price, especially at a season that brings acute loneliness and isolation for many. This year, the necessary restrictions caused by the pandemic of Covid-19 will only add to the difficulties many face and ‘hospitality’ may well still be a ‘no-no’. Even so, maybe this Christmas, we should re-think our Santa List and dispense more on a low-cost but high-value basis. And return to ‘stable values.
Baby Yoda and the Pooping Flamingo might have their day, but the gift of one small act of compassion can last an eternity.
Despite all our tribulations can I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and a much kinder and safer year ahead.
One piece of positive news is to report that Joyce White was appointed Session Clerk at the last Kirk Session meeting which was conducted by Zoom. Joyce brings a wealth of teaching experience and school management to the job and we thank her and wish her well in this important role.
The ever-changing regulations regarding church services have proved to be a challenge, but despite many restrictions, physical services are now taking place again at Abernethy and Arngask. Sadly, our war- memorial services had to be cancelled on Remembrance Sunday and due to the inability to sing and the need to wear a face-mask whilst in church along with heavily restricted congregational numbers it will not be possible to hold any Carol, Christingle or Watch-night services this year.
On a more hopeful note, a mid-week afternoon service has been taking place every fortnight, alternating between the two churches. A Zoom Café Church service has also been held fortnightly and in addition to this, Rev Stan has been sending out ‘Virtual Church’ services every Sunday. Current worship information can be accessed through the Church ADA (Abernethy & Dron & Arngask) Facebook page. Here you can find details about how to ‘register’ your ‘Trace and Protect’ details, get the weekly service sent to your computer and join in with Café Church by Zoom.