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The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Dorothy Neilson 

Sunday - 19 December 2021

Relax.  Settle.  Draw close to God.  Be still.

“Amazing God, we sit by you and for now, the busy world is hushed,  the fever of the daily grind  is over, and our souls are at rest.  We listen for the quietness of your presence, the silence of your voice, the tenderness of your touch, as you love us and listen to us.  We imagine our safe place deep within where only you can visit us.  And we are in awe.  We worship you, the God of all time.”


The Lord is here


His presence is with us.

How often do we use the word ‘random’?  The word is a favourite with my grandchildren.  When they can’t be bothered explaining something to their old granny, or if they they don’t understand themselves, they just shrug their shoulders and say, “Random!”  That means that it’s anybody’s guess!  Who knows what these things mean?  Maybe something?  Maybe nothing.

Today we are looking ahead to next week and celebrating the birth of Jesus.  But today let’s pause and look at that year in time, a year like no other the world had ever experienced.  A year never to be repeated and a year which hundreds of clever people have been analysing ever since. A year about which many of us might shrug, and say, ”Random!”.

And so let us ponder…… just sit quietly and ponder.  Let your mind roam around the story of the original Christmas and be amazed.

Think about that big scary angel who invaded Mary’s privacy talking what seemed like complete nonsense to Mary, just a wee lassie herself.  An angel, foretelling a pregnancy – an impossible pregnancy at that!  Shock, amazement, wonder.  Questions of how?  When?  WHAT?????  Why me?  EH?  And Mary pondered all these things in her heart.

And in the meantime, Zechariah.  The angel who appeared to Zechariah informing him of the miracle of conception about to take place in his wife’s body.  The awesomeness of Zechariah being made dumb and voiceless.  The shock of that proclamation!  And that baby, John the Baptist, being grown in Elizabeth’s womb.  Disbelief, overwhelmed, humbled.  Of all the Priests in all of Israel’s history, why did God chose Zechariah?  Or Elizabeth, far too old to be able to do anything much for her God.

And what did Mary and her cousin Elizabeth talk about when they spent time together.  Both had had such powerful encounters with God about the births of their sons. 

The Magi/ the three kings/ the wise men.  However we like to think of them.  Men of wisdom who spent their days watching…. looking forward and watching for what was coming, Looking back to understand where they had been.  Looking to understand what it was all about.  Studying that pesky star that was a bit of a mystery to them.  How many millions of years ago was it that God had to prepare that particular star to shine in that particular spot in the heavens on that particular evening?  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.

“Yes,” says God nonchalantly, “I prepared well.  Remember that the Messiah had to be born from Abraham’s family tree?  I saw to that.  And from the line of the King David?  I attended to that.  All was prepared.”  A quick read through Matthew chapter 1 is enough to blow our minds.  Forty two generations from Abraham to the birth of Jesus.  From the foundation of the world, God IS!

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.”

And so let us do the same. 

“Our amazing God, our Father God, the one who created the stars and the galaxies, may we experience today the awesomeness of this world, your eternal purposes and your power over all.  All things come from you O God.  And we worship you.”

Happy Christmas                                                                                                     ( Dorothy Neilson)



A wee reminder that this is the last reflection until March and that our church service will be at 10am on Zoom until further notice and when allowed – St Ayle 10am and Crail 11.30am – for the whole of 2022.

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