December 2020

Reflection for Christmas I 27th December 2020

Christmas I 27th December 2020 Year B

After the very bright light,
And the talking bird,
And the singing,
And the sky filled up wi’ wings, And then the silence,

Our lads sez
‘We’d better go, then
Stay, Shep. Good dog, stay.’ So I stayed wi’ t’ sheep

After they cum back,
It sounded grand, what they’d seen: Camels, and kings, and such,
Wi’ presents – human sort,
Not the kind you eat –

And a baby. Presents wes for him. Our lads took a lamb.

I had to stay behind wi’ sheep.
Pity they didn’t tek me along, too. I’m good

A reflection for Christmas Day by Canon Dean Fostekew

Christmas Day 2020

In Bethlehem ‘X’ really does mark the spot, the spot where it is believed that Jesus was born. Almost three decades ago I visited that spot, in the Church of the Nativity. The writer Annie Dillard describes the site of the stable thus:

“One of the queerest places on earth – I hope- is the patch of planet where, according to tradition, a cave once stabled animals, and where Mary gave birth to a son whose later preaching – scholars of every stripe agree, with varying enthusiasm – caused the occupying Romans to crucify him. Generations of...

Bassano's Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi Bassano


The painting above is entitled; ‘The adoration of the Magi’ and it was painted in about 1542 by Jacopo Del Ponte (‘nick-named’ Bassano from the town the he came from ‘Bassano del Grappa’) near Venice.

Bassano’s work is one of my all time favourite paintings. Why? For many reasons; such as his use of strong colour, his subject matter and the fact it was one of the first paintings that I learned to ‘read’. Most of us will get‘Nativity’ scenes on Christmas cards this year but have you ever taken a good look at them and wondered what the different elements...

A reflection for Advent IV by the Rev'd Russell Duncan

Advent IV – Sunday 20th December 2020

Let it be with me according to your word

Like most journeys, many of us are glad when they come to an end.  Sometimes there a great sense of relief and satisfaction just to finish. We may feel tired, exhausted or worn out. We may wish that we had not started on them or been taken in a particular direction over which we had no control. At other times we wish they continued forever. A holiday, a friendship, a new and exciting opportunity, an unexpected encounter.   

Today the fourth Advent candle, representing...

Advent III Reflection by the Rev'd David Warnes

Good Shepherd Advent 3 2020

The illuminated advertising hoarding opposite Tesco Express on Roseburn Terrace isn’t often a stimulus to theological reflection, but a couple of the posters that are currently on electronic display there have a distinctly Advent feel to them. One of them has the strapline “Don’t get caught out” and the other reads “You need to act now”. They remind me of the urgency of John the Baptist’s call to his contemporaries to repent and his warning that they may not recognise the Messiah in their midst. In fact the purpose of the advertisements is to encourage businesses...

Reflections for Advent II by Canon Dean Fostekew

Sunday 6th December 2020 Advent II  Year B

There seems to be an awful lot of shouting going on in today's readings but then perhaps shouting the message is better than mumbling as proposed by the Dean of the Cathedral of St.George, the Shires and the Utterly divided Trinity in one of his cathedral diaries (as found on the Tobymalcolm weblog):

"Is it time to revive the honourable custom of mumbling?At some theological colleges, ordinands are still taught in the best English tradition to mumble; to speak 'with the lips partly- closed' as the OED has it. For a church...