The last two services in the Kirk have been a great joy.
Firstly, on the 13th of November, we held our Remembrance Service, with over 260 worshippers in the Naseby Sanctuary. It is worth repeating praise of the behaviour of our Youth Organisations out on Parade and our Junior Church in attendance. They, and their leaders, should be rightly proud in what can be a difficult service not just for the youngsters but for the adults too.
Then, on the 20th of November, Amanda Heather was ordained, and Emma Kinloch admitted into the Kirk Session as Elders.
These services were a great advert for our faith and for our Church.
Adverts become very competitive as we enter into our Advent season in preparation for the celebration of the coming of Christ into the world: from Asda and the use of ‘Elf’ as he transfers a supermarket during the night into a winter wonderland and John Lewis with a man trying to learn to skateboard before his new foster daughter arrives at the door with skateboard in hand.
Marks and Spencer have brought a new character on tow, called Duckie, voiced by Jennifer Saunders with Fairy Godmother Dawn French flying around previewing a perfectly matured cherry and orange wreath, mini steaks and more, whereas Aldi stars Kevin and his carrot family awaiting a flight to Paris.
Every year it is the same – the competition between leading sellers and retailers to produce the most catching advert, the most emotionally tear-jerking one that will make us so moved by what we see, that we will shop there and buy the products shown.
It might not seem a bad idea, for we are not always conscious of the power of advertising. How many of us can remember jingles as a child that we can still sing word for word:
‘A Mars a Day…’
‘A finger of fudge is just enough to give the kids a treat…’
‘Toblerone, out on its own, triangular chocolate…’
Go on, finish the advert.
The adverts entice us but what do they say about the reality of Christmas?
How do they help as inflation rises to 11% and the cost of living increases?
Christmas should be a happy time, but people can be so low in one of the great festivals of the Christian calendar. Like lemmings going over a cliff edge, despite bills increasing, we are all drawn in, especially for children and grandchildren, to give them everything on their list to make their dreams come true.
What are we telling each other? How are we helping our children? What kind of advertisement are we?
And of the Christ Child, born in a manger, in a outhouse, away from the celebrations, how do we advertise this as a Christian community, that the real Christmas has nothing to do with what is displayed on our TV screens but is more about those on our streets at night; the work of Street Pastors; the Hospice chaplain and the staff at a bedside; the card that is sent to the older gentleman who gets very little attention?
Let’s be the true advert of Christmas, the one that doesn’t change, the most meaningful of all.
Wishing you the Child born anew,