Dalry Trinity Church

December Newsletter

 The Christmas that can never be cancelled

            A few weeks ago, a newspaper carried the headline ‘Christmas is cancelled’ in response to the realisation that covid restrictions will limit the way we gather together. At the manse we are delighted that we will see two sons and a daughter-in-law for only the second time since last Christmas, but seeing them means we hit our maximum of 3 households together. So, we won’t be seeing our family in Glasgow at Christmas, something that has never happened before. Every family in the land will be making these calculations and realising how different things will be. This Christmas will be unlike any other. Many people feel deeply disappointed that their usual festivities will be cancelled.

            But let me be clear – Christmas is NOT cancelled. However much our celebration of the festival may be curtailed, the abiding significance of the first Christmas remains. As the shortened days of December shroud us in ever-deepening gloom, the bright hope of the One who came as the Light of the World may yet shine all the brighter. Will it take the removal of what we have allowed Christmas to become to turn us afresh to the true wonder of the coming of Jesus?

            Amidst the anxieties and fears that accompany many of us towards the end of the year, there remains the true hope that is found uniquely in Christ.

            For those who refuse to recognise or acknowledge anything that they cannot see, because they are materialists, things look bleak indeed. For them the world is a place of chaos which just so happens to be the victim of a random biological and chemical process. For them, living through a global pandemic is no more than the hand dealt to us by the random dictates of blind fate.

            For Christians, the first Christmas tells us a very different story. It tells us that the Universe is not to be dismissed as no more than an impersonal stage where lifeforms are tyrannised by dictates of viral ‘luck.’ Instead, the first Christmas tells us that there is a God who made everything and that at the very core of the universe is a God of love relationships (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). He is a God of supreme kindness and mercy, a God of grace, who has a plan to rescue us from the mess of our own making, and remake the world without sickness or pain or death. The key step in that plan was Him coming as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. The king came to inaugurate a new and perfect kingdom.

            Jesus was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago and lived the perfect human life in order to invite us to join in that future perfect world. By his death and resurrection, the way is made open to receive forgiveness and new life whereby we can belong in that new world.

            Christmas is not cancelled, because the hope of the incarnation can never be cancelled.

            May you know the blessing and hope of Christ this Christmas,

            Martin Thomson

March 2020 – Pastoral letter – Religions

On our sixth day in India we caught the 6am train from Jaipur to Delhi. A train journey seemed less overwhelming after so much time spent in road traffic, gridlocked and noisy and colourful and relentless amidst the endless throng of people. For several days we had spent time on the roads amidst buses, cars, lorries, motorcycles, Tuk Tuks, each capable of going fast but all going slow, five or six lanes of creeping traffic on three-lane highways. Train travel seemed so much less stressful.

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February 2020 – Dependence and Vulnerability

A five year episode concerning my health has come to something of a conclusion. In 2014 I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called sarcoidosis, which, in my case, caused inflammation in my lungs and lymph glands. The symptoms included wheeziness, an annoying cough and what I now realise was an unhealthy tiredness. Initially, the condition was monitored over a period of years before the decision was taken in April 2018 to treat the condition with some industrial strength steroids.

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December 2019 – Modesty Above Publicity

There had been a difficult confrontation. The atmosphere was getting more tense. Jesus had been engaged in an exchange with the religious teachers, the Pharisees. They were picking fault with the behaviour of both Jesus and His disciples. No doubt their antagonism had deepened as Jesus exposed their ignorance of the Bible and their careless disregard for the welfare of the people around them.

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