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Dear all,

As winter sticks its frosty fingers around our jackets we once again feel the change of the season. The trees

are showing their bare branches and the days getting shorter whilst the nights are getting longer. However,

we are also seeing the start of the Christmas season. Christmas lights are being switched on and all the

wonderful sweet and fruity cakes associated with Christmas are making their way to our tables.

can’t help getting a warm feeling when I see the festivcelebrations happeninin Elgin, not to mention the

few extra pounds thamight finds its way during all the Gingerbread lattes being sold in the High Street. The

other day I was chatting to somebody who could not wait for Christmas decorations to come out and to come

to the Christingle service on Christmas Eve. There seems to be an anticipation to celebrating the Christmas

season and for children to be visited by Father Christmas.

We also get ready to celebrate the end of the year, a year marked by lighter and darker moments. There were

the dark moments like the loss of lives in London, Manchester and Las Vegas, the increase of poverty, not only

in this country, but also around the world. On the other hand, there were the lighter occasions. Celebrating

the 70th wedding anniversary of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the opening of the new Queensferry

bridge, having all the benefits of living in a safe and stable country.

From the Church of Scotland, we saw the celebrations of 500 years of the Reformation, the 2018 Moderator

Designated, Rev Susan Brown, comes from the North of Scotland and we see a new resilience in the work of

Church, not only in Elgin, but also in the rest of Scotland. We are very aware of challenges facing the Church in

2018, but are also optimistic about the year ahead, seeing new initiatives aimed at all generations and tackling

the shortage of ministers and other staff in the Church.

Darkness always follows light, and the night is always at its darkest before the break of dawn. Jesus came to

this world when it was in the eyes of God at its darkest. John wrote in his Gospel:

In HIm was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the

darkness has not overcomeit (John 1: 4 – 5 NIV).

This helps us to understand that although we can, from time to time, be overwhelmed by “the darkness othis

world” nothing can overcome the light of God in Jesus. When wforget that Christmas is about the Light

coming into this world, we lose the meaning and heart of Christmas. Not only Christmas, but also the energy

needed to face the challenges of 2018 that lie ahead of us. As we take those first steps of a new year, may we

remember that Christmas supplied us with the Light to safely travel into 2018.

May Christmas 2017 be a time of family memories and mince pies, but never forget that the Light that come

on Christmas Day came for you and me. To show us the way into a New year so that we can be His light in this

world.

May you and your family have a Blessed Christmas and a New year filled with Light!

Deon