Thursday 17 December

As a positive antidote to the stress many are feeling as they contemplate a very different kind of Christmas from that to which they are accustomed, not being able to see children and grandchildren or friends far away, or even attend churches, may we give thanks as we look at our Christmas cards, for those who have remembered us and sent us their greetings. Pray for them too!

Friday 18 December

Only a week to go until Christmas Day and yet, for many, despite current restrictions, a sense of harassment about all that still remains to be done. Pray that the reality of what this season means will not be crowded out and ask that people will find or make time to reflect on the coming of the Babe of Bethlehem.

Saturday 19 December

This is a day when many church and club parties would have been taking place in other years. Pray for all who are trying, in different ways, in this exceptional year, to bring cheer into the lives of others either through carols on the radio, tv or on social media sites with Zoom choirs or with little gifts, delivered to doorsteps, or in numerous other small acts of kindliness. Give thanks for all these imaginative efforts and pray for those who prepare them and give their time and expertise in making them happen.

Sunday 20 December

On this, the fourth Sunday of Advent, the fourth candle of Love will be lit in our sanctuaries and on our Advent wreaths at home. Give thanks that here, in St. Columba, all the places available in the sanctuary for both services, have been booked and pray for all who will be watching online or listening at home on the phone to the worship. Pray for our ministers, Scott at St. Columba and Roddy at Lochside, for all they do to prepare uplifting and challenging messages for us in these difficult days. Remember, too, our Minister Emeritus, Fraser, currently serving as Locum at St. Nicholas, Prestwick.

Monday 21 December

On this evening of the shortest day, or Winter Solstice, two of the planets, Jupiter and Saturn, between 4.30 and 7.p.m. will align in the west, in a rare way not seen in the last 800 years. Pray that the usual cloud cover here will clear to allow us to see this amazing and spectacular phenomenon. Pray that, whether or not we see it, we will again be moved to marvel at the handiwork of the creator of the earth and sea and sky, being inspired to work even harder to preserve and protect our beautiful planet.

Tuesday 22 December

Wherever the UK is by now in the long drawn out Brexit process, pray for wisdom and integrity on the part of all the politicians involved and for all who will require to deal with the outcomes, including ourselves. Many are fearful of its consequences. Pray that the sovereign hand of our Lord will over-rule in the final decisions.

Wednesday 23 December

In recent weeks, the statistics being published about the high level of drug taking and deaths in Scotland, with its sad consequences, and the increasing levels of domestic abuse, particularly of women and children at this time of year, have become alarming. Pray for all caught up in these two tragedies, for all who try to help those affected and for sufficient practical resources, in places like drug rehabilitation centres and Women’s Aid shelters, to meet their needs.