General News

Christmas Celebrations

Christmas is a very special time in the Christian calendar, a time of great joy as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

 

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On Monday, December 23, a large number of families joined us for our Christingle Service so it was just as well that willing helpers had spent the afternoon creating 250 Christingles!  Carols were sung, the Christmas story was read, the symbolism of the orange was explained, the lights were dimmed and the Christingles lit. As they were carried through the darkened church who can forget the wonder and delight on so many faces. And the fun did not end there because the service was followed by hot chocolate and marshmallows in the hall!

 

On Christmas Eve the Watchnight Service saw close to 400 worshippers enter the sanctuary, a sanctuary watch13_43.JPGnow lit by candles: on arches in the centre aisle, round pillars and on candelabras, those in the apse causing the stars on the ceiling to glisten and sparkle. There were joyous moments as the well known carols were sung; there were quiet moments of prayerful silence when all was still; there were thoughtful reflective moments during the beautiful singing of the choral group, and as midnight arrived and the anniversary of Christ’s birth was announced, there were outstretched arms and many voices as all greeted each other with ‘Happy Christmas’!

 

Christmas_morning_2013_002.jpgOn Christmas morning a marvellous mixture of ages came together for our morning service, for there were grannies and great-grannies there as well as many children. The sanctuary looked very festive with its candle-lit arches down the nave, Christmas tree on the chancel steps and the different nativity scenes displayed on the window sills. The whole atmosphere was one of warmth and welcome. The children were invited up to the front and asked what they had received for Christmas and there was many a smile at some of the answers! And, as always, the service finished with that wonderful last verse of ‘O Come all ye faithful’: ‘Yea, Lord we greet thee, born this happy morning’! Many worshippers then stayed on for coffee and stollen, and this was much appreciated, especially by those for whom Christmas does not mean a family gathering. 

 

All our Christmas services were led by our minister, Revd Scott McKenna, whose address at each was, as always, interesting, thought provoking and inspiring. His sermon for Sunday 22 entitled ‘Not another virgin birth?’ can be listened to here.

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Lastly, on Sunday morning, December 29, we held our traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Again this service was very well attended, being popular with both our regular worshippers and many visitors who are in Edinburgh at this time. The beauty of the service was greatly enhanced by the singing of the choir and choral group, led by Walter Thomson, and by the wonderful playing of Dr John Willmett on the organ. 

 

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, remembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea,

Quick now, here, now, always –

A condition of complete simplicity

(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flames are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.

                                                T S Eliot

[Printed on the front of the Orders of Service at our Christmas services]

 

 

 

Contact Information

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church,
18 West Mayfield,
Edinburgh,
EH9 1TQ

0131 667 1522 / 0780 801 1234

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Scottish Charity Number: SC000785

Quotations

  • Because God is both knowable and unknowable the tension of the symbol, the multilayers of the myth and the openness of the poetic are all vital to our desire to celebrate the Mystery to whom we relate and in whom we have our being.
    Mark Oakley

  • You must love him as he is: neither God, nor spirit, nor image; even more, the One without commingling, pure, luminous ...

    Meister Eckhart

  • The purpose of our life is God's glory. However lowly a life is, that is what makes it great.
    Oscar Romero

  • Faith may justify bigotry or fanaticism, as Church history tragically witnesses. It needs a safeguard. If it is not animated as it were by the greatest of the theological virtues (love), faith can become defective.
    Thomas Norris

  • Dry not, dry not, your tears of love eternal! Only to eyes that fail to weep does this world seem so dull and dead. Dry not, dry not, those long, sad tears of love.
    Johann von Goette

  • The post modern paradigm manifests itself as a unity which preserves diversity and diversity which strives after unity.
    David Bosch

  • There is only one assertion that requires no evidence. Children are a sacred trust...Unless we care properly for our children, we shall never build a better world.
    'A Good Childhood’ The Children’s Society

  • These are only hints and guesses, hints followed by guesses; and the rest is prayer.
    'The Dry Salvages' T.S.Eliot

  • According to strict truth, God is incomprehensible, and incapable of being measured.
    Origen

  • Myth is a story about the way things never were, but always are.
    Thomas Mann

  • In the darkness ...The child of your love - and now become as the most hated one - the one You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved ..... The darkness is so dark .... I have no faith.
    Mother Teresa

  • I love the Bible. I owe my faith and my life to the Bible and its liberating message. It is in the Bible that I first met Jesus ... I too am included in God's embrace.
    Gene Robinson

  • It is this great absence that is like a presence, that compels me to address it without hope of a reply ....
    R.S. Thomas

  • Faith is not a proud self-consistent philosophy. It involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can't be solved by analysis. It is therefore a living response to the grace of God as revealed in fragile lives.
    Mark Oakley

  • Any religion which does not say that God is hidden is not true.
    Blaise Pascal

  • The contemporary Church is losing aspects of its wide and generous memory and therefore condemning itself to become a 'swimming pool Church' - one that has all the noise coming from the shallow end.
    Mark Oakley

  • For all your doctrinal headaches take Paradox.
    Mark Oakley

  • The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge and is everywhere cut off from us by the darkness of incomprehensibility.
    St Gregory of Nyssa

  • Death, death be hanged, the Lord has promised me that I shall live. This I believe!
    Martin Luther

  • We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life have not been put to rest.
    Wittgenstein

  • Religion is the flight of the alone to the Alone.
    Plotinus

  • Stupid clergymen appeal quite directly to a Bible passage directly understood ....
    Soren Kirkegaard

  • What is the point of the arts of reading and criticism as long as the ecclesiastical interpretation of the Bible, Protestant as well as Catholic, is cultivated as ever?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • A figure like Ecclesiast, rugged and luminous, chants in the dark a text that is the answer, although obscure.
    Wallace Stevens

  • Myth is the poetry of the soul.
    Sara Maitland

  • Our loss of the ability to think mythically, poetically, allegorically, creatively, theologically, and artfully is a greater threat to our religious experience than anything good scientists have to report ...
    Sara Maitland

  • In general, Zen attitude is that words and truth are incompatible, or at least that no words can capture truth.
    Douglas Hofstadter

  • 'God' is a one word poem
    Rowan Williams

  • What is today? Today is eternity.
    Meister Eckhart

  • Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
    Meister Eckhart

  • The most powerful hunger we have, mostly suppressed and misdirected, is the hunger for God.
    Miroslav Volf

  • We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.
    Thomas a Kempis

  • Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
    Rabindranath Tagore

  • God is the beyond in our midst.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • 'God is not the answer, God is the question.'
    Herbert McCabe