People are making a greater effort to reach out to others this Christmas despite not being able to celebrate in the usual way, a church minister has said.
Morningside Parish Church in Edinburgh will not stage its usual Christmas Eve service this year due to the pandemic, but it will hold a smaller, socially distanced service on Christmas Day.
This will be live-streamed so people not able to attend can still watch.
Very Rev Derek Browning, minister of the church, said: “There has been a lot of talk about Christmas being cancelled this year.
“Yet what I am seeing and hearing all over the community, and all of the Church is quite the opposite.
“People gathering on doorsteps to ring bells at 6pm on Christmas Eve, people phoning round or ‘Zooming’ friends and family to make sure there is some kind of connection over these days.
“Neighbours looking out for those on their own, or who are frail.
“This year, people are making a greater effort to reach out, and that’s wonderful.
“At Morningside Parish Church, we’re sad not to be celebrating Christmas Eve in the usual way, with hundreds attending, but we are holding a smaller Christmas Day service, and will be live-streaming these services on these days, and on the Sundays afterwards until we can all meet again.
“This year of all years, kindness is the theme.”
The Very Rev Dr Derek Browning holds the Christmas day order of service, as he puts them on socially distanced chairs inside Morningside Parish Church, Edinburgh, as he makes preparation for worshippers ahead of the Christmas day service.
Mr Browning, who was the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2017-18, said children at South Morningside Primary School had made “Boxes of Kindness”, filled with cards, gifts, cracker jokes and stories, and had asked the church to deliver them to older people likely to be on their own this Christmas.
He said there was a “moving, overwhelming and uplifting” response on the doorsteps when the boxes were handed over.
The minister said: “Through kindness spoken and shared, I see Christmas being experienced all over our community.
“I hope we all find Christmas, and its true meaning, this year.”