This year the leaders of the Churches and other Christian bodies in Scotland met together at the invitation of the Moderator of the General Assembly for a Bible Study and discussion. Arising out of this a Christmas message has been crafted and will be published as from all the churches. I commend it to your use and reflection.
Dr Jones is Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Christmas means different things to different people with different associations. I am old enough to remember the post-war Christmas with recycled decorations and strange looking artificial trees and presents that tended to the utilitarian rather than the luxurious. But it was still Christmas and an integral part of that was the service in Church.
There are many folk in Scotland for whom worship at Christmas is an opportunity that may well be a “once in a year” experience. We should do all in our power to welcome those who come to celebrate Our Lord’s birth. It would be a terrible thing if the “no room at the inn” ever became “no room in the pew” and the Celtic tradition of hospitality and of entertaining the Christ in the stranger’s guise is one that should be part of our celebrations. To those congregations who provide a meal on Christmas day for those who have no others to share it with I offer a special salute and good wishes.
We should keep the needs of others in mind at all times – and work for a nation in which basic needs are met for everyone – but even so maybe this is the season to not walk by the Big Issue seller but to stop with a smile as well as a purchase.
The “spill over” effect out of church and into the street is what protects our festival from sheer sentimentality and nostalgia.
May you all enjoy the Christmas season and the sharing of the Good News that “Love came down at Christmas”.
• Full story at the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway.