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Soul Talk Advent Series: Blessing

Thursday 17 November 2022

I wonder if you have heard the lovely little folk tales that describe how the robin got its red breast? One of those little tales has been the inspiration behind our beautiful linocut Christmas cards, created by East Lothian artist and poet, Vicky Allen.

The story goes, that a robin visited the baby Jesus in his manger. On arrival, the robin notices that the stable is cold as the fire that had been lit to keep everyone warm, was going out. Wanting to help keep the holy infant warm, the robin fanned the dying flames of the fire until it was burning brightly again. Unfortunately, as the robin fanned the flames, she scorched her breast feathers red. And as this folk tale tells, from that day all future robins have red breasts. Red feathers that speak of care and blessing.

Our Advent series this year, holds this kind robin in mind, as we take ‘Blessing’ as our theme. What is it to be blessed and to bless? Each week we look at this theme through four lenses –

Week One: Blessing as Making the Ordinary Sacred

Through the story of Mary, we will consider the ways in which an ordinary life, lived faithfully, is blessed and a blessing.

Week Two: Blessing as Honouring Reality

Remembering the story of Joseph, we will consider whether we can know ourselves to be blessed in the – sometimes – hard reality of life?

Week Three: Blessing in the Darkness

Taking the story of Herod, we will explore the possibility that blessings come into their own when it feels the most dark.

Week Four: Blessing as a Gift

Inspired by the gift – giving Magi, we will explore the idea of conferring blessing and goodness.

Throughout Advent we will use the beautiful – and probably – less familiar words of the First Nations Version of the New Testament, which follows the tradition of Native storytellers’ oral cultures. Their words help us to look with fresh eyes on a story that we know so well.

Our writers this year are Johanna Derry Hall, a writer and spiritual director from Edinburgh. Vicky Allen, a poet, artist and spiritual director from East Lothian and myself, Jenny Cornfield, Soul Food Edinburgh’s Lead - also Edinburgh based.

If you would like to receive our Advent series, please subscribe here. It will run from the 28th November – 24th December. If you subscribed last year, we have automatically added you to our list, if you want to unsubscribe, just let us know.

And if you would like to order some of our beautiful Christmas cards, please visit our shop.

We really hope that you can join with us this Advent. We would love your company. As I close, I leave you with a. blessing:

May you, this Advent 2022,

Know that you are beloved.

May you sense the depth of God’s blessing,

that has been carried by a teenage girl,

cherished by an honourable man,

heralded by angels,

re-told by shepherds,

and held, in the fragility of a baby.

And may it,

Like the flames fanned,

By a tiny bird,

Warm your heart,

And find its home,

In the day to day living

Of your life.

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