Belated New Year greetings to you all.   May God Bless you with good health and good cheer throughout 2019.

As I write this article on a Mid-January day, the temperature is well above what it should be.  Indeed, on New Year’s Day we had snowdrops showing their white heads and all Spring bulbs are well through.  Meanwhile I spoke to our friend in Debrecen in Hungary and she told me they have over ½ metre of snow and the temperature was -20c, so let us be thankful!

Since my last article my wife and I have cruised from Southampton to Barbados.  We arrived in the West Indies to tropical rain.  Rain does take a new meaning when it falls with a temperature of 30c, so warm rain.

In church, on the 100th anniversary of the end to WW1, we remembered those who sacrificed their lives for our continued freedom which we enjoy today.  It was great to see so many of our Youth Groups join us and lay their respective wreaths along with our Church wreath.

A small group of us met on Tuesday evening during Advent as we journeyed towards Bethlehem and Baby Jesus, and we will once again be holding Bible Study during Lent.  Please feel free to come and join us and I assure you of a very warm welcome and interesting, thoughtful Lent.

Very kindly I have been asked to share Bible study with The Good Companions, and to date we have thought about Jesus and the Good Shepherd and Jesus “I am the bread of Life”.

Christmas seemed to creep upon us very suddenly this year.  In church we welcomed Laurieknowe School for their Christmas Service.  The children had chosen to donate to Food Bank and so a box was left for parents and friends of the school to donate.  The very satisfying sum of £148.70p was collected and along with 2 large containers of food donations from Maxwelltown West church, I delivered this to First Base Food Bank.  I was assured that these donations would be put to immediate use, as sadly the number of people having to visit is still increasing.   But you know people starving is not a 21st century new thing.  Jesus looked out over 5,000 hungry people up on the mountainside and he felt moved to feed them with 2 fish and 5 barley loaves.  So indeed we follow Jesus when we lift up our eyes to those in need and help them in their time of need.

Our Nativity Sunday was a real joy and blessing for those present.  Dawn, along with our 2 “STARS,” took us on the journey of Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Wise Men.  What a memorable service and one I will always remember.  So thank you to our Sunday Kids.  All this was followed by a most enjoyable brunch and time of fellowship.

Our Christmas Eve service was fairly well attended and we were blessed once again with Ms Anna Pearcey, who came along with her friend Declan McGarvey playing on our piano.  They played a selection of Christmas themed music and many of us sang along.  They are 2 very talented musicians and are a credit to our Youth today.  Thank you to both of them for giving our service that extra dimension.

Christmas Day was a joyful service and I thank you for my gift of chocolates, presented to me during the Service.

My thanks once again to all who have welcomed me into your homes.  I feel honoured and blessed to be your Locum.

So let us look to the future with much optimism and hope.  Let’s continue to journey together sharing love, joy and peace with each other Sunday by Sunday, and let us follow the Light of Jesus through Holy Week to the Cross on Good Friday, and onto the Glorious Easter Day.  Christ is Risen.  Halleluiah!!!

Your Brother in Christ,    David Matheson, Locum