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  • Angel Advent - Day 21

    This image was shared with me by a former work colleague and sometime chorister at St Mary's, Glasgow

    The annunciation is a rather wonderful image, using a very limited colour palate to great effect.  I love how Mary is sitting on a chair (I thought for a while it was a park bench!) and her handbag dangles at the end. I love the coffee pot on the table and the (highly symbolic of her purity) vase of lilies in the foreground. The overflying dove, the branch held by the angel - all rich symbols in a surprisingly contemporary depiction.

    What I love about this image is that very fusion of ancient and modern, symbolism and mischief, all of which express something of the mystery of this ancient story.

    God of the past,

    God of the present,

    God of the future

    Older and younger than we will ever be

    Thank you for the creativity of artists

    Who can express something of that mystery

    In images such as this.


    Photo (c) Stewart Macfarlane 2015

  • Kitty Nativity

    As a bit of fun, I decided to decorate the cat's 'tree'.  Rooting through their toy box, and realising how many toy mice they have, I decided to create a nativity scene with them.  The angel is actually a small toy cat, rescued from the church clear out last year, and yes, there's a chicken (rather than a camel or a donkey!) and a tiny dog (instead of a lamb).

    Both cats were very curious about it - with Sophie even snuggling up in the 'stable' for a while.

  • Angel Advent - Day 20

    This little ornament hangs on my tree.  It is an "Angel for the Broken" made by a charity in Mongolia who craft them from the glass of bottles that contained alcoholic drinks, and sell them to raise funds for alcohol rehabilitation.

    These angels are incredibly fragile, and the wings of this one had snapped off, leaving her looking more like Mary.

    In a perverse way, I like that. Not all angels have wings. And Mary was a messenger in her own right.

    I didn't quite manage to position the angel/Mary so the lights would shine through her glass body, but I think she also has that 'saint' quality too.

    One fundamental truth of Christianity is that, in some way or other, we are all broken.  Yet the light of Christ still shines on, and through, us, enabling us to be, and speak, Good News to others.

    Broken angels, bearing hope to those who are broken - what could be more hopeful than that?


  • Sweet Chiming Christmas Bells...

    I'm researching my 'talk' for the Christmas Day service, and came across this, less known version of a very well known carol... enjoy!

  • Angel Advent - Day 19

    Thank you to my long-time friend J who sent this photo of angels flying over the streets of London (not sure if it's Regent Street or Oxford Street).

    Angels are sometimes described as 'creatures of light' and these surely are.

    It's a great photo, and just looking at it, I can feel the chill night air on my cheeks, hear the hubbub of voices and traffic,  sense the energy of the city.

    And above it all, the angels hover, mid-flight, watching silently.  I am reminded of the carol "It came upon the midnight clear."


    It came upon the midnight clear,

    That glorious song of old

    From angels bending near the earth

    To touch their harps of gold...


    And still above our city streets

    The glorious angels shine

    A peaceful presence overhead

    At this year's Christmas time


    So let us hear their song again

    And let our striving cease

    That all may know the love of God

    And find much needed peace.