Celebrating the Greatest Gift this Christmas - Advent 2018
For God so loved the
world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life. John 3:16
Tomorrow, for the first Sunday of Advent a special film from the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Susan Brown will introduce our theme for 2018, ‘the Greatest Gift’.
Speaking about Advent, she said: "The Christmas story is about the wonderful and shocking arrival of the Son of God into the midst of the lives of very ordinary human beings.
"That coming talks of God's love for us being a love that rolls up its sleeves, ready to get involved in the mucky complexities of human life.
"And that's what makes it Good News.
"God knows us as we really are - yet still loves us and still comes to us!"
This year's Advent offerings will feature specially written prayers, ranging from uplifting celebrations of new life and Christingle, to ones which remind us to confront the more challenging issues faced by many, particularly at this time of year, such as homelessness and bereavement.
We will hear inspiring stories from churches across Scotland and beyond of how different congregations are marking Advent. Whether it’s churchgoers moving back into their church building after years of absence or the many thoughtful ways church people are reaching out to local communities, we hope that you will find these uplifting.
With contributions from those based as far afield as Galilee we’ll be celebrating our unique church community.
People ranging from parish ministers, church elders, deacons, ordained local ministers, and young people have all come together to help us put together this year’s Advent calendar and provide a thought-provoking and joyful way to reflect throughout this season of Advent.
Don’t forget you and your church are invited to send in photos of your preparations and celebrations which we will be sharing in a Facebook album during December.
As we await the start of Advent tomorrow, let us reflect on words from a prayer by the writer Robert Louis Stevenson:
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.