It is hard to believe it, but Tuesday is the 1st of December. Where has the month of November gone? Believe it or not, there have been the same number of days as normal – 30 days. Looking back over the month it appears that for much of the time, whole areas of the island have been under water. It has been day after day of grey skies and at times it seemed like incessant rain.
Yet, every so often the grey skies have parted and we have had sunshine. It is winter and the comparatively few hours of daylight have had a wintry feel to them as a consequence of the sun being so low in the sky.
‘Dreich’, which is much more expressive than drab, is a word that we have heard often throughout the month. Therefore, we have appreciated the few bright days all the more. Saturday the 28th was just one such example of the sun making an appearance at just the right time.
Throughout the month our eyes have been drawn to the skies. Sometimes to try and work out if the cloud cover is too low for the plane to land. If the plane is unable to land there will be no mail to or from the Mainland. On such days it has been so dark that you have required lights on in the house throughout the day.
On occasions the sun has shafted through breaks in the clouds. It has been like nature’s own spotlights. This morning the first few hours of daylight were characterised by low cloud cover over the Passage of Tiree. The horizon was marked by a letterbox that was filled with a red glow. How we appreciated seeing the distant Paps of Jura standing out against the narrow red backdrop. Soon the clouds were to be rolled up to reveal a welcome blue sky.
Another feature of the past month has been the frequency of rainbows. Many of them have found there way onto social media. Sometimes they have been like an early warning system to head for home before getting a soaking.
In the coming days children will be looking to the skies to the see if they can catch a glimpse of a sleigh with a man in a red suit on board. I have heard that in the not too distant future he will be making a special visit. to the Isle of Tiree.
It made me think of a song by the musician and song writer Graham Kendrick. It is reminder that for the followers of Jesus, Christmas is the celebration of his coming to planet earth, when he became one of us – a real flesh and blood baby. It is also a reminder of his promise to return for those who have put their confident trust in him.
Jesus said, “You must not let yourselves be distressed—you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am.” (The Bible – John 14)
And the first verse and refrain of the song by Graham Kendrick
Look to the skies, there’s a celebration
Lift up your heads, join the angel song
For our Creator becomes our Saviour
As a baby born!
Angels, amazed, bow in adoration
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven!’
Send the good news out to every nation
For our hope has come
Worship the King – come, see His brightness
Worship the King, His wonders tell
Jesus our King is born today
We welcome You, Emmanuel
Graham Kendrick – Copyright © 1983 Thankyou Music
At this point in the calendar we normally look back over the year. In many ways it has been like no other. From March to July we never entered a shop and in fact since then only Mrs Life on Tiree has been shopping. For much of the year we have hardly ventured out of Scarinish. We did manage a week on the North East of Scotland when we stayed in a cottage right on the harbour at Findochty. Our annual review of the year will look very different.
This coming week we will be visiting Oban to keep an appointment. It will be the first time the we have been on the ferry since the very beginning of March. We are so grateful to those who have maintained the transport links to the Mainland during the pandemic.
Jesus is revealed as Emmanuel. The name means ‘God With Us’. There is a take on a poplar saying, ‘Jesus is for life and not just for Christmas’. How true – for he has been with us throughout the year – the year like no other. And no matter what 2021 may bring our confidence is in him.