The Edinburgh Reporter

Message from the Moderator


OFTEN, AROUND this time of year, when you’re out shopping and paying for something, the person on the checkout hands you your receipt, and says “Merry Christmas” or possibly “Compliment­s of the season”.

I hope increasing age hasn’t made me too cynical, but sometimes the thought flits through my mind that the greeting is not always motivated by the person having a genuine interest in whether or not I have a merry Christmas. Could they be saying this because they’ve been told to? I conjure up an image of a memo from supermarke­t headquarte­rs directing those on the checkout to give customers a cheery seasonal greeting on the assumption that this will somehow help cement a bond between the shop and the customer.

Even if age breeds some cynicism, I believe my suspicions are outweighed by the experience that more often than not, the person saying,“Merry Christmas” really means it. Invariably it lifts my spirits.

There actually is something genuine to this whole idea of Christmas cheer. As December 25th draws near, people do seem to warm up just a bit.

Recalling the Christ child’s birth, they do make an extra effort to practice the virtues the angels sing of - “peace on earth, goodwill towards all people.” But why do we notice this at Christmas? Why does this surge in warm-heartednes­s stand out?

Is it because, despite our best intentions, good will towards all people so easily becomes a seasonal event rather than a standing policy?

When Christ entered our world, He didn’t come to brighten our Decembers, but to transform our lives. It can be hard work to practice good will towards one another. But John the Baptist’s message was that, as we prepare for Christ to come into our lives, we can change our ways.

Jesus’ ministry provides the blueprint for loving our neighbour in a busy and complicate­d community. Christ made a point of seeking out the broken and outcast people of His day - He saw the value in each one of them. And by doing so, He helped them recognise the value in themselves.

This Christmas season, let us recognise that just as faith is a decision, good will towards people is a series of decisions that work themselves out not in temporary Christmas cheer, but in the details of life all year round.

Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General

Assembly of the Church of Scotland

 ?? ?? Lord Wallace
Lord Wallace

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom