As I write this at the end of October, the sun is shining, and the leaves are falling off the trees outside the study window. Autumn is here! This is one of my favourite seasons of the year. I love the vibrancy of the colours on the trees – the trees beside the road leading to the Friarton Bridge and Perth are spectacular as the leaves change colour. It was a season I missed when I worked overseas as we moved from the Monsoon season into winter with none of the colour changes of a Scottish autumn.
But already the shops are steering us towards Christmas. There is already a newly set up Christmas shop in Edinburgh St James’ Centre, and window displays in High Street shops all across the country. We are encouraged to book early for Christmas Lunch. It was in August that I first saw an advert in a National newspaper inviting businesses to make a booking for office staff lunches. I do feel sorry for parents who have to cope with excitable youngsters looking forward to Christmas for about 3 months before the event!
Since this newsletter is issued a couple of weeks earlier than usual, it means that I have had to think a little bit more about Christmas earlier than I normally would, although there was a brief mention in the June newsletter!. You will read more about the Chrismon Tree Workshops on the next page and I hope there will be a good response to this new venture. There is a new Advent Carol set to the tune of “The road and the miles to Dundee” which will be introduced on Advent Sunday, 29th November. That is really the day when we will begin our build up to Christmas.
During this period of Advent there will be the Christingle Service, the FOG Squad Nativity Service, the Watchnight Service at Panbride, and on 6th December the Service of Quiet Reflection for those for whom Christmas might be tinged with sadness as a family member will not be sitting down with them as they had done previously.
During the forthcoming Advent Season, as we travel together following the Shepherds and the Kings from the East, may we all find time to reflect on the real meaning of this time of the year-that God came to earth in a stable in Bethlehem – and like the shepherds and kings, take the opportunity to worship Christ, the new born King.