Christmas

The three kings
“Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” [Matthew 2.11]When I was about 12, my parents took me on a holiday to Spain at around Christmas time. It was the first time I had ever been abroad. And in Spain, I discovered that people were very different - there was a different culture, a different language, a whole different way of doing things. And although almost everything I encountered was a bit different, the Spanish way of doing things seemed...
Christmas begins with a priest arriving at the altar of the Lord – only to find that the Lord has other plans, and the biggest day of his priestly life ends in chaos and embarrassment.Poor Zechariah. Luke begins his Gospel with the story of John the Baptist’s father – at that time, still childless – having the once-in-a-lifetime privilege of burning the incense in the inner sanctum of the Jerusalem Temple at the end of the daily services. Much to his surprise, Zechariah encountered the...
Georges de la Tour 1644
If the consistent witness of the Gospels is to be believed, the most momentous event in human history begins with the idle whim of a public sector bureaucrat in urgent need of a data point to satisfy his constant anxiety for administrative exactitude – that addictive need for false reassurance through arithmetic that is the all too common characteristic of personally insecure public sector bureaucrats everywhere. It is a census which requires, for no good reason, indeed for no stated reason at...
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Cosmologists tell us that although we see only 2 per cent of the universe, scientists ‘know’ by inference that the other 98 per cent must be there. It’s just that it’s hidden behind dark matter and black holes. This might be helpful for thinking about Advent.This season should make us aware that we know very little about God.  What we do know, even the events of Christ’s first coming, are only a fraction of what is still to be discovered. In St Paul’s...
St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow went casually festive with their annual Christmas Jumper Day and raised several hundred pounds for charity, as well as smiles. On the day when the refectory served up their Christmas Lunch, pupils and staff were invited to wear their favourite Christmas jumpers and make a donation to one of the college charities. The day was hailed as a great success with Aloysians from Kindergarten to S6 accepting the invitation, as well as their teachers. A total of...
Farm Street Church’s Christmas Card to Mayfair this year is La Nativité by the French painter Noël Coypel. As in previous years, it will be illuminated near the Mount Street Gardens entrance to the church to remind residents, visitors and shoppers about the real meaning of Christmas.Noël Coypel was born on Christmas Day 1628 and died on Christmas Eve 1707.  He was also called Coypel “le Poussin”, because his earlier paintings were influenced by French artist Nicolas...
St Ignatius suggests that we ask God's grace to enable us to enter into the thoughts and desires of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as they look down on the mess being made of our world prior to the Incarnation. 'What a mess they are making,' they say. 'Think of the beautiful creatures We created and then look at them now.  So much selfishness, violence and pride! Look at that one strutting about, preening himself, as though he is superior to all his companions...