Detail from a mosaic in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Matthew 2:1-12

Old Clay, New Pots

You shaped me, O God, and you formed me
Like a tender potter at her wheel you caressed me into being,
your creative Spirit channelled into my very soul
Yet, sometimes I don’t want to be the way you moulded me,
I want to be more like someone else,
do something else;
I change my make-up—
I warp your good intentions
and distort what you fashioned well
I become almost unrecognisable,
even to myself
At such times, it is you, my Creator alone,
who still sees me as who I am and to whom I belong,
who sees me as I could be;
Reach out your hands and wrap your gentle fingers around me,
teasing out the bits that have gone hard
reshaping the clay I have distorted,
so I might sit in harmony with myself once again,
ready and able to fulfil my purpose in your world.
Shape me, O Lord, to work for your Kingdom,
form me, O God, in your image.

Fiona Reynolds, Minister, Monifieth Parish Church

Advent, Christmas Day: A Christmas Prayer

Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus’ sake.

A Christmas Prayer, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

This post, shared by Margaret, is the last in our online “Advent calendar”. Merry Christmas! You can see all the posts here.

Advent, Day 24: Northern Light

Icelanders celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, as my family does. At this time of year, the darkness of the far north is at its peak. In some fjords in the west of the country, the sun barely manages to rise above the mountains before darkness descends again.

Many years ago I recorded Bernaður Guðmundsson, the pastor of the church at Skáholt. He remembers a childhood memory told to him by his grandfather, about the preciousness of light on Christmas Eve.

This post from Anna is part of our online “Advent calendar”, taking us through to Christmas. You can see all the posts here.

Open Church suspended for the time being

It was agreed last night at an Extra-Ordinary meeting of the KH Kirk Session that we suspend the Open Church sessions in the building on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the reasons being the continued and accelerated threat of Covid 19. 

We are very sad to make this decision, having felt that it was important to keep our doors open to be a continued presence in the West End, and a place where the community could come and take some time out from the day to day to sit and reflect.

The Session would like to thank all who have contributed over the last few months, in whatever capacity, to make it the success it has been. We will be back in contact if and when things change. In the meantime please have a Happy Christmas and restful New Year.

Remember, we can still be Together While We’re Apart.

Advent, Day 23: Still the Night

I find Christmas a very nostalgic time – there are things that stand out in the memory, like wending your way home through gently falling snow after a Christmas Watchnight service with a lovely warm feeling inside – or the annual re and re-reading as a child of Enid Blyton’s Christmas Book, with its wonderful explanation of Yuletide customs and traditions, all within the context of a family life which read then as something cosy and predictable, but not, somehow, ‘twee’! 

The time I cooked the turkey upside down by mistake, which made the breast beautifully moist.  The excitement of the biennial trip to the cousins for Christmas Dinner. Coming home from the midnight service to start mixing the Christmas pudding, then having it steaming gently all the way through to dinner time to make up for it’s not having been made weeks before.  Flickering firelight. 

Close your eyes and just remember – as you listen to ‘Still the night, holy the night’.

This post from Maureen is part of our online “Advent calendar”, taking us through to Christmas. You can see all the posts here.

Advent, Day 22: Cathures Choir

As one of our hall user groups, Cathures are one of the highlights of our Christingle Service every year, and thankfully this year was no exception as they managed to create this wonderful performance for us while staying suitably socially distanced!

I’m sure anyone who has tried to sing along as part of a Zoom meeting will know that this must have taken a huge amount of work to record and put together, and it sounds beautiful.

This post is part of our online “Advent calendar”, taking us through to Christmas. You can see all the posts here.

Advent, Day 20: The Mackintosh Choir

KH choir stalwart Mary is also a member of the Mackintosh choir, who have been preparing for their Christmas concert with a difference – this year it will go live on Youtube, tonight, Sunday 20th December at 7pm and is available to view online afterwards as well.

Normally a collection to support The Lodging House Mission is made at the concert, and this year is no different – you can make a donation here.

This post, by Mary, is part of our online “Advent calendar”, taking us through to Christmas. You can see all the posts here.