A View from St Kilda – December 2023

The radio is on in the car…
…and even although it is still November, Christmas songs blare out. To be honest, I am not feeling full of the Christmas joy and ‘Ho, ho, ho.’ Remembrance Sunday has just passed, as well as All Saints Day after Halloween and at the time of writing, we haven’t begun the four-week journey of Advent.

The radio is on…
Christmas songs. They are like Brussel Sprouts, they only should appear in December. Like distant relatives bounding into your family home on Christmas morning, as we look towards December, a flurry of festive favourites flood back.

‘So here it is Merry Christmas, everybody is having fun…’ sing Slade. No, I’m not.

Then Brenda Lee makes an appearance, ‘Rocking around the Christmas tree’, at least it is a Christmas tree and not a Venus fly trap from the rather unusual John Lewis advert. And when John Lennon and Yoko Ono start to sing, ‘Merry Christmas, war is over,’ I thought about the world we live in, and war never seems to cease.

Give me Cliff Richard and ‘Mistletoe and Wine” – in fact, forget about the mistletoe, I’ll just take the wine. And then, as the lights change at another set of traffic lights, a blast from the past, Wizzard, and ‘I wish it could be Christmas Every Day.’

Oh, no, I couldn’t stand that, Christmas, every day. Parents and grandparents throughout the centuries have tried to instil and teach children the joy of a birthday and a Christmas that comes, once a year, and even although we celebrate communion informally, once a month, the Presbyterian in me, recognises the special moments in a full communion service celebrated three times a year.

Advent is a time of waiting, of preparation, of longing, but it wouldn’t be if we had Christmas every day. Can you imagine going round the aisles in our local supermarkets and they were still stocked up with festive goodies, Christmas puddings, turkey and the dreaded sprouts!
You head to church for some respite, and there, standing tall, is our Christmas tree, and it’s March and our duty team have paper crowns on their heads and are making strange noises with party horn blowers…

‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’.

Wait a minute, Jesus Christ is born into our world, in a cattle trough, and that birth changes lives. He will live to 33, ministering for 3 of these years but his words and actions, his parables, stories, sermons, healing hands and healing heart will turn the world upside down. And he will know and experience the lows and depths of despair as a human, dying on the Cross, as well as the hope and then joy at the Resurrection.

With Christ in our lives, day and daily, in the deeper sense, it is like Christmas every day, each new day giving us opportunities to make that day, that time, unique and special and blessed.

The music changes in my car and it is the Pogues (now banned I believe) and Band Aid, singing ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’. That’s maybe appropriate too, that we share the wonderful message that Christ is with us and it is Christmas in December, and November, and January, February….

On behalf of the Manse family, may you know the Christ child in your hearts and that he is born in you.

Your friend and minister,

George C Mackay