Celebrating the greatest gift this Christmas

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Services remember loved ones lost in 2018

A prayer tree

Christmas is a joyful time for many but a lonely and emotional period for some.

It is particularly hard for people who have lost loved ones during the year.

Church of Scotland congregations across the country are acutely aware of the impact of loss on people and as such many will be holding special bereavement services to offer comfort.

They hope that churches can be places where memories can be remembered and hurts healed.

For example, services are being held at St David’s Broomhouse Church in Edinburgh on Sunday, December 9 at 2.30pm and Tron St Mary’s Church in Glasgow on the same day at 6pm.

The names of people from Hawick in the Scottish Borders who have died this year will be read out during a special service at Hawick Wilton Church on December 20 at 6.30pm.

People in attendance will be asked to write the name of their loved one on a star which will be put on a special tree.

Rev Lisa-Jane Rankin, minister of Hawick: Wilton linked with Teviothead, said the service was for people of faith and none who find Christmas difficult due to their loss.

She said: “I know how hard Christmas can be for people, and even when I think of my own circumstances.

“I remember as a child, sitting round a table of 14 or so family and friends for Christmas.

“There are five of us left - my parents, our friends Ruth and John and me.

“I loved my grandpa, great-aunt and family friends very much and I miss them perhaps more at Christmas than any other time.”

Miss Rankin, Clerk to the Presbytery of Jedburgh, said bereavement doesn't just go away overnight.

“It stays with us and even though my grandpa has been dead for about 20 years, I still think of him and his abilities to fix just about anything,” she added.

“For the people of Hawick, the service gives a focus for people to remember before the busyness that is Christmas Day.

“There are tears, there are memories, good and bad, and a chance and space to remember.

“Some come back year after year, some come perhaps only once or twice, but they come, and each year, more come.”

Kirk ministers from Hawick and representatives from the Salvation Army and Roman Catholic Church are expected to attend the service.

Miss Rankin said local undertakers John Beattie & Sons and Robson's Funeral Directors send out invitations to newly bereaved people in the town.

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