By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will be just getting underway.
When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters. Mainly to several kind elderly aunties who had sent me Christmas presents. I remember it being a bit of a chore as a child and when I became a parent I found out that the next generation of children found it much the same. I guess now instead of the old “pen and paper” method children (and adults) can say thanks for their Christmas presents by text, email or even Facebook and Twitter!! Much quicker but hopefully none the less sincere.
As Christians we are encouraged to always give thanks – and that is right. Unlike with the “labour intensive” thank you letters of childhood, scripture encourages us to be joyful in our gratitude. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make it our New Year resolution always to remember to give thanks to God daily for the good things in our lives.
Often you also find that a grateful heart produces the strength to bear the not so good things in life better than a resentful one. Let us, at the start of 2018, take the words of St Paul in his letter to the Colossians as our template of thanksgiving for the year ahead and pray that it will be a fulfilling one in our own lives and in the life of our church. Also we pray for a peaceful and hopeful year ahead in the life of our nation and our world.
“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Marion joins me in wishing you all a happy and peaceful New Year.
“Bah!! Humbug!!” These words we associate with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol”. This expression and calling someone a “bit of a Scrooge” are commonly used idioms to describe people who don’t enter into the Christmas celebrations with much enthusiasm. Odd as it may seem, in days gone … Continue reading Bah!! Humbug!!
It is 100 years ago this year that the United States entered the First World War on the Allied side. It was a US Senator, Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) of California who in 1917 observed “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Ironically Johnson died on 6th August 1945 the day the Allies dropped the … Continue reading Truth
We celebrated harvest at Emmanuel a little earlier than usual this year and I am grateful to everyone for their part in making it such a joyful celebration. In early October in the Jewish community another harvest festival called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew, takes place. This is a week-long festival whose … Continue reading Sukkot
September is the month of beginning again. Schools return, university terms start as do all the host of church and secular activities that take a summer break. September to me always seems a more sensible time to celebrate New Year than 1st January which was the date the Romans chose and we have followed on … Continue reading New Year?
During our recent holiday on the beautiful Isle of Arran among the places of interest Marion and I visited was what is known as, “The King’s Cave.” This is a cave where it is said in the year 1306, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, fleeing from the wrath of England’s King Edward the first, had” … Continue reading The King’s Cave
As I write the General Election is over by less than a week and the Prime Minister is in the process of putting together an agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to secure a parliamentary majority going forward. Needless to say the two sides don’t agree on everything and a compromise will have to … Continue reading Politics?
Dear Friends, I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that this month, on Thursday the eighth, we have a General Election and all the main parties have been, for what seems an age now, wooing us for our votes. It is certainly not for me to tell you for whom to vote … Continue reading Fake News
Dear Friends Since I last sat down to write my letter for the April magazine a lot has happened in the world and the headlines have not made optimistic reading. There was the terror attack at the Houses of Parliament and on Westminster Bridge, the chemical weapons attack on civilians, including children, in Syria and … Continue reading Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again
In June 1972 there was a break-in at the Democratic Party’s Headquarters located in the Watergate building in Washington DC. It went virtually un-noticed at the time but due to the investigative journalism of two Washington Post reporters, involvement in the break-in was traced back to the White House. The attempt to cover up the … Continue reading Remember Watergate?
At this time of year the snowdrops are in full bloom in the manse garden and they seem to get more and more each year. They remind me of my native, Ayrshire, as snowdrops grow in abundance there along the hedgerows and in the woods at this time of year. But the snowdrops also remind … Continue reading Snowdrops
I am writing this in the week in January when the Prime Minister has been making a major speech on the government’s Brexit strategy and the term “trade deal” has been bandied about freely. I am sure it wasn’t necessarily the intention of the PM but it is a timely reminder that “Fairtrade Fortnight” is … Continue reading Trade