Here’s a question for you. What do the following have in common? Pitlochry, Balfron, Monikie and Edinburgh? Yes, they are all in Scotland. But what connects them all is “Light”.
Pitlochry had the Enchanted Forest at Faskally, Balfron had the Woodland Light Experience, Monikie had the Dragon Matrix and Edinburgh had the Botanic Lights and by the time you read this the “Street of Light” in West George Street will have been switched on
We visited the Botanic Lights in Edinburgh at the end of October and on a lovely crisp dry evening, wandered around the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh watching some spectacular lighting effects. The projection of faces through water and “mist” in the Chinese Gardens, spectacular fountains in the Pond, trees highlighted by changing colours and towards the end of the trail, music representing various countries, the changing from country to the other indicated by the sound of an aircraft taking off, as the colours and music changed. A wonderful experience.
The Street of Light first appeared on the Royal Mile in 2015 and this year it is going to be on West George Street, in the area outside “121” the Church of Scotland Offices. There will be over 60,000 bulbs of light alongside synchronised music from local choirs and bands including the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, Blazin’ Fiddles, and Scotland’s very own bhangra group Tigerstyle.
Although at times we utter the words “Bah Humbug” when Christmas decorations start appearing in early October, Light has always been associated with Advent and Christmas. Last year we made all the decorations for the Chrismon Tree and, by popular request, we will be doing the same again this year. All the decorations will be either gold or white, and all the lights will be white. The Advent Banner will feature a silver star, and of course we will be lighting the Advent candles each Sunday.
When we look at the Christmas Hymns this theme of “Light” is to the fore again. “Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings”, “It was on a starry night”, “Yet in your streets is shining the everlasting Light”, “the stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay” – and so we could go on.
There is so much of our world at the present time which could do with some light shining in the dark places. We all know where they are. As we approach the culmination of this season on Christmas Day, we are reminded of the words in the Gospel of St John “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world”.
May you know this Light and Christ’s presence with you at Christmas time and throughout 2017.