In the Church it’s Advent.
In the city it’s Christmas.
In Meadowside St Paul’s, the young people have had a part to play in lighting the Advent candles. Always a solemn moment, until the flame makes the all-important connection with that brand new wick.
Meanwhile, outside (we have been worshipping in the hall since we returned, which is closer to the street than the sanctuary) the noise of passing traffic can be heard.
At one moment I heard a siren: was it a police car, ambulance or fire engine? I think they have different sounds but I can’t distinguish between them, so I simply offered a short prayer (silently) for anyone in trouble and those from the emergency services going to their aid.
The other traffic is lighter than normal for the time of year. Shops which haven’t survived the pandemic, restricted opening hours, customers with less disposable income, queues to get inside for a coffee – these Covid-related factors have clearly impacted the Christmas trade on the high street.
But I did see a wee girl getting her photo taken in front of the huge penguin decoration, brightly sparkling in City Square – she was having fun! Perhaps the family’s next stop for a picture would be the nearby Christmas tree
(spire of Meadowside St Paul's just visible, to left of tree, in background).
As Christians we won’t be able to witness to the advent of the Christ-Child through, for example, carol-singing (as Meadowside St Paul’s have sometimes done at Ninewells Hospital) or opening our church doors to welcome passers-by on Christmas Eve (because of the necessary booking system).
Does that mean that Christmas has been stolen, as some people are saying?
I don’t think so. We might consider sending a card to someone living alone, who will also be on their own on 25th December – something for them to put on the sideboard or bookshelf as a reminder that they are not forgotten.
On Sunday (6th December) Anita reminded us of the Foodbank – more than ever our contributions are needed.
All such small gestures add up to something bigger.
Think of the five loaves and two fish blessed by Jesus to feed a crowd of over five thousand people.
Let’s pray that our Lord might bless our little gifts of Advent hope, love, joy and peace so that they might multiply and convey much more than we could do on our own.
To the one Eternal God
who is able through the power at work among us
to do much more than we can ask or imagine
To him be the glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
now and for ever