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Moderator's Christmas Message

Moderator's Christmas Message

Saturday December 25 2021

By Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.


It can be no coincidence that the Church chose the Winter Solstice to celebrate the birth of Christ.

At the darkest time of the year the light shines; for only when it is darkest are we open to see the light.

The light that shines in the darkness is not an overwhelming light.

It is not a ten-thousand-megawatt super spotlight, so bright that it obliterates the darkness.

Nor is it the great displays which light up our town and city centres.

The light that shines in the darkness is more like the faint glimmer of a single candle.

It is a light so tiny that it can be noticed only in the darkest times.

It needs the darkness to be seen.

The Church has been reminded by its prophets that the big powerful light is not the way Christ reveals the Divine presence.

The stories of the birth of Jesus show us a very small light.

This light is revealed to a young woman in the middle of nowhere who is shocked that God would choose her.

OK, a squad of angels may have lit up the night-sky but isn’t it more moving to think of birth by candlelight in a byre?

This light is presented to subsistence-living shepherds, huddling by the light of a small fire, who cannot fathom that they would be the ones to see the sign and tell the story.

The Christmas story is a humble story.

The light comes to those who have nothing to offer or so they think.

The light is not overbearing.

It is a glimmer of promise in a dark time.

And in the darkness, a tiny light can be seen from a long way away.

The spiritual rigour to which we are called during this Advent season, is to set aside all the things which can pre-occupy us in the run-up to Christmas and to recognise what is really important.

We are to allow ourselves to be lifted up by the expectation of Christ, Christ who is present and active.

Jesus said ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life’. 

As we know if we are honest, it is often only in the darkest moments, only when we have hit the bottom, only when we realise we cannot do it on our own, that we can see the true light that is the light of the world.

It is the light of a single candle.

A light which the darkness has never extinguished.

And it is all we need.

May I wish you a joyful and blessed Christmas.