Advent Day 13: Rev Wes Brandon writes about Christmas in his first Church of Scotland charge

Rev Wes Brandon, the minister at Buckie South and West linked with Enzie Church of Scotland, writes about his first Christmas as a Church of Scotland minister since moving from his home state of Tennessee last year.

Rev Wes Brandon
Rev Wes Brandon is originally from Tennessee and is now the minister of Buckie South and West linked with Enzie Church of Scotland

The Advent season and Christmas have always been the most special time of the year to me.

Growing up in America, it was a time watching holiday specials in front of the television with my brother and sister, smelling Mom's freshly baked cookies from the kitchen, and eagerly anticipating what Santa might bring under the Christmas tree.

Our streets would be heavy with slow-moving cars as families and church groups traversed the neighbourhood gazing upon the brightly lit and decorated themed homes and yards.

It was a time for my cousins to come in from out of town to gather at my grandparents' house to enjoy a huge family meal centred around the Christmas ham and roast beef.

And one of my favourite traditions was going to the local mall on Christmas Eve with my Dad to buy last minute presents before heading to our church for handbells and carols by candlelight.

It was a time of festive joy and anticipation.

As a minister, I found it very difficult to find time to come home for the family Christmases due to serving churches far from my Tennessee home.

Welcomed by the church families I served throughout the years, I have a treasure full of memories of wonderful folk with whom I have rejoiced, prayed, and cried over during this time of year as many have now entered God's eternal embrace.

As the years come and go by, it has become more of a time of remembrance and reflection.

Now as I prepare for my first Christmas in Buckie, and second Christmas in Scotland, it will be the first Christmas since my own father passed away.

I know this time of year can be difficult on many people as life continues to move forward as we remember loved ones no longer with us.

Our winter days in the northerly Scotland are filled with more darkness than daylight.

For me, probably more so than ever before, the impact of the Christmas lights breaking through the darkness of the night and day recalls me, and I pray others, to the persistent Christmas message of hope and the promise of Emmanuel, God with us. Through our dark times, God breaks into our world and our lives with an inextinguishable Light, the joy of a child, and the eternal love of a Saviour.

Wishing all y'all a Holy Christmas filled with Light,

Blessings,

Wes (and the manse kittens)

Sign up for this year's calendar

Joy To The World is the theme of the Church of Scotland's 2019 Advent calendar.

We invite you to sign up for a daily email or check our online Advent calendar for some daily inspiration.

Throughout the season, we'll bring you stories that highlight how church members around the country are celebrating the birth of Jesus and sharing their faith, hope and love with everyone in their communities.

Follow along with this year's Joy To The World Advent calendar.