Advent: 16 December

Tracy Niven
Tuesday 19 December 2023

Good morning,

Over the weekend, our Advent Calendar will open a couple of windows on to the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.  According to Luke, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem when he was about forty days old, to offer a sacrifice of two turtle-doves, as was customary for a first-born son.  Two people there recognised Jesus as the Messiah, Simeon and Anna.  Some of Simeon’s words have become familiar to anybody who attends services of Evensong and Compline in the University and elsewhere.  They form the Nunc Dimittis – Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace…

I took this picture on a wonderful journey through Georgia and Armenia a few years ago.  The image, over the doorway into Echmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia, depicts Simeon with the infant Christ.

Holding the baby,
ready now for death to come,
light in his old arms

I’m delighted to say that the film of University Carol Service from Holy Trinity Church on 2 December is now available online here:  Thank you to friends from IT Services and the Music Centre for their wonderful work on visuals and audio, and for having it available as an early Christmas present.  St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, organists and brass players, who sounded magnificent in the church, have been beautifully recorded.

Let me also mention a recital today at St Salvator’s Chapel at 3 pm.  Nine University organists collaborate on a complete performance of the nine meditations which comprise one of Olivier Messiaen’s great early masterpieces for the organ: La Nativité du Seigneur, from 1936.  Admission: £10, free to students.

And while there is no University service tomorrow, Sunday 17 December, I will be leading worship at St Margaret’s Church of Scotland, Glenrothes, at 10 am.  I will be speaking on The Nativity according to Mark.  All welcome, and service is livestreamed – see


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