Tag Archives: Christmas Tree

Fa la la la….etc


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November 29, 2014 · 17:24





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December 7, 2013 · 00:20

Three Little Boys

Three kids – one Catholic, one Protestant, and the other Muslim- were talking together about Christmas which was only a few days away.

The Catholic boy said,”I love Christmas – but we have to go to Mass on Christmas Eve and it goes on for hours.  By the time my folks have chatted with their friends and had a game of Bingo in the Church Hall (using Roman numerals, of course), we don’t get home until two in the morning and I have to go to bed.  But I get up early, and there are loads of presents – lots of toys; it’s wonderful!”

The Proddy lad said, “I love it too, although my Mum and Dad drag me off to the Watchnight Service at the kirk and the Minister just tells the same old story every year; then the bigger boys and girls (Youth Group) serve terrible coffee and pie things that are full of dead flies (mince pies), then we go home and gather round the Christmas Tree and there are presents – loads of them – toys, games…brilliant!  It’s great!”


They turn to the Muslim lad.  “What about you?” they ask, “What do you do at Christmas?”

“Well,” says the wee boy, “My Dad has a toy factory in Bangladesh and he imports sea-containers worth of Christmas toys and games and, oh, all sorts of stuff to be sold at Christmastime…..

…… so, we stay in on Christmas Eve and have a party with dancing and singing”

“What???” ask the two others, “Like Christmas Carols and that?”

“No, no!” answers the wee Muslim laddie, “Our favourite is ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus”

Boom!  Boom!  Bet you’ve heard that one before!

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August 20, 2013 · 10:16

The Christmas Tree

A number of years ago, the Gorbals district of Glasgow was one of the most  deprived areas in Western Europe

This is a photograph from as recently as 1958:


Glasgow Corporation decided to demolish most of the slum dwellings and to rehouse some of the tenants in three multi-storey tower blocks which were designed by the most famous architect of the day, Sir Basil Spence.

When they were completed, they looked drab and dreary (Sir Basil is alleged to have said “To reflect the Glasgow skyline”).

Three rather dull grey high rise rising up to dwarf the remaining tenements below them.

With great imagination and ingenuity, the City Fathers decided to name them:

  • “A Block”
  • “B Block
  • “C  Block

But with the characteristic spirit and wit of the Glaswegian, the new tenants renamed them:

  • “Alcatraz”
  • “Barlinnie
  • “Csing-Csing”

There’s something robust about the human spirit – the ability to rise above even the most depressing of circumstances and to assent that even in the wilderness, light and life and even laughter too

One Christmas, some time after the Tower Blocks had been built and were already falling into a state of disrepair, a photograph appeared (in the “Glasgow Herald” newspaper).  It was of the same three multi-storeys , surrounded by derelict wasteland which was full of almost crater-sized potholes, rubbish and broken glass.

And, in the centre of the picture, perched on top of a rubbish heap, amidst the harsh, grim, wretched wasteland of the area around it, there stood……… a Christmas Tree 

Nobody knew how it got there or who had rigged up the  fairy lights which shone so brightly.  No one knew who put the star on the top of it or even how they managed to plug the lights into the  mains electricity supply……….. or at least nobody was saying!

In the middle of this run down social wilderness stood a little Christmas Tree: a proclamation of hope;a beacon of light.

Oddly, in an area where vandalism was rife, the tree was left untouched. Nobody smashed the lights and wrenched the branches from it.

A light shining in the darkness – an affirmation of hope.  A declaration that humankind’s spirit can reach out for the light.

A reminder for all of us that the Light that came into the world still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never extinguished it

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic


On Advent Sunday the minister asked the kids what they could see in church which hadn’t been there since last year (expecting the answer ‘the christmas tree’), but got the loud response ‘My Dad!’. He was back in church every week after that!

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic