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  • The Twenty-First Blessing

    So maybe it is the season for ridiculous selfies?

    Today's gift was a gold cardboard crown, intended to symbolise the status of Jesus as Prince of Peace (and possibly a hint at the Magi, traditionally portrayed as Kings)

    OK, so it's not a great fit (probably designed for children rather than adults) but I expect it either made you smile or shake your head in disbelief.

    Maybe that's not so far of the ludicrous truth that a peasant baby was actually God incarnate... that the Prince of Peace chose vulnerability and powerlessness as the way to live.  Perhaps we shrug in disblief, shake our heads or laugh in derision... but this is the heart of the Christmas story... a foolish God, whose folly is beyond the wisest of human wisdom.

  • A Poem, A Picture and A Prayer - Day 17

    Today's poem is How to Paint a Perfect Christmas by the Czech poet and immunologist Miroslav Holeb.  The poem has been tweaked many times in translation, and I am not sure which is the definitive version.  It may be found here.

    The photo is of the festive lights in George Square, Glasgow, which I took at about 8 a.m. on a Monday morning during Level 4 restrictions.  The beauty is self-evident, the knowledge of when it was taken perhaps a little poignant.  How we would describe this Christmas?

    The prayer...

    God holiness, of magnificence, of awe and wonder

    Where did we get this craving for perfection,

    This desire to do the best, have the best, be the best?

    Show us what perfection means for you:

    A new-born, firmly wrapped up for warmth, sleeping in the hay,

    Calm amidst the messiness of human imperfection

    Transforming it with love, filling it with peace.


  • Let prayer be real, let laughter be holy...

    Almost every Tuesday at 8 a.m., I join three other ministers for an online prayer cell.

    We share news, good and not so good

    We listen for God in scripture, poetry, story and art

    We pray for the world, the church and each other

    Today we were joined by a grandchild and a selection of glove puppets and soft toys

    The laughter was holy, the prayer was real.

  • The Twentieth Blessing

    Today's gift was a wooden cut out angel.  I chose to give mine a face and to add a message to the hem of its garment.

    The gospel speaks of angels announcing "Good news of great joy for all people..." I wonder what that looks like in 2020? Indeed, I wonder what it looks like in any year, perhaps when the words don't stand in quite such stark contrast to our lived experinece here in the wealthy west.

    Good news for the refugee or asylum seeker...

    Good news for the person discriminated against because of the colour of their skin...

    Good news for the person who has lost their job, their home or their security...

    Good news for the person whose loved one is ill, or dying, or has died...

    Good news for the perosn who is ill or dying...

    Good news for the person whose plans are in tatters, and who feels lonely, isolated and unloved...

    Good news for you...

    Good news for me...


    May God send you angels bearing Good News of great joy, grant you peace, fill you with hope and surround you with love.

  • A Poem, A Picture and A Prayer - Day 16

    Today is the winter solstice, so perhaps no more appropriate poem than At the Winter Solstice by Jane Kenyon, which can be found here

    The poem reflects the truth that nativity plays have a habit of taking place at, or very close to, the winter solstice.  It has become a favourite poem of mine, so a little bit self-indulgent maybe?

    I think the photo was in Glasgow Central Station, but my memory is a bit fuzzy!  It was certainly on public display in Glasgow in a simpler time.

    Here is the prayer...

    God of times and seasons,

    On this shortest of days - at least in the northern hemisphere of this planet we call home -

    In this week when pre-Christmas activity usually reaches its peak,

    Help us, if only in our memories,

    To savour afresh the joy of the nativity play- wonky halos and muffed lines,

    Of proud parents, watching misty-eyed

    As the darkness is dispelled by the glory of Christ's light