Weekly Update - 11th December
Dear sisters and brothers
Up until last week I had never heard of thundersnow, let alone actually heard thunder in a snow storm, but this apparently rare event was reported to have occurred last week in Edinburgh. It’s the sort of thing that I have no doubt will give rise to differing opinions: some would love a bit of snow; others would like to experience lightning in a snow storm; and for many the thought of both thunder and snow at the same time is close to their worst nightmare. In these strange times, however, we’re getting used to the unusual.
As Christians we are constantly living in strange times, when two things which might seem not to go together are both true. It has been described as living in the “now and not yet of the Kingdom of God”. We know that God is with us, and yet long for God to come. We know that Christ has come; and yet we long for him to come again. Advent reminds us of this. We are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus which brought peace and salvation to the whole world; and yet we are also very aware that the world is far from peaceful – and won’t be until he returns. Living in this strange time can be confusing as we experience God’s presence alongside the presence of suffering and struggle. This is why it is so important to take time during Advent to draw close to God and to pay attention again to God’s word. It is only by taking such time that we can come to fully experience the fullness of both knowing and longing for God’s presence – even if it is difficult to understand.
I know that for many of us just now we are also struggling with being in a ‘now and not yet’ of the Coronavirus pandemic. The promise of a vaccine brings hope; but we need to be more vigilant than ever. And the easing of the restrictions over Christmas brings relief to some who have longed to see family or friends, while others remain anxious about mixing, and many of us feel caught between the two. It once again gives rise to differing opinions, at times within the same family, and that can lead to tension. In Romans 12:18 Paul writes, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. I wonder if in these times that is good advice: not to put pressure on anyone else to do anything that might cause them anxiety and, when feeling the pressure yourself, having the assurance that this shall pass.
In everything, please know that I continue to pray for you: that the true peace of the season would fill your heart and that you would know both the presence and the promises of God. If I can be of any other help, please do contact me.
As well as the usual attachments you will also find details of our services over the Christmas period. They include a service in Cairncry Community Centre on Christmas Day. Because of the nature of the service we can accommodate more people than at our recent Communion services but it is still necessary to book a place in advance. If you would like to join us for worship on Christmas Day you’ll find the details of how to book in the attached information.
With love from Sarah and myself,
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587