In light of the coming Holiday season, several denominational heads released Christmas messages to commemorate the Birth of Jesus. The following is a message by the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Professor Iain Torrance.
"No one over the age of 10 can fail to be struck by the stressfulness of Christmas in the affluent west. The need to shoulder the crowds on pavements and in many shops; the traffic jams; the intrusion of jingle, light pollution and litter all conspire to bury the event which is the purpose of the festivity.
"Let's look at what we have buried under the wrapping paper. To celebrate a child born in poverty and evident vulnerability we have constructed a festival in which you are obliged to be a consumer if you are to take part. There is no other Christian festival which so risks being submerged.
"Let's reclaim what the festival is really about. The ancient church saw the birth of Jesus as a new beginning for all humanity. But he came not simply as a wonderful human being, but as one with the power of God to recreate who we are and to open up new possibilities for being human people, new possibilities for relating to others and to God.
"It is evident that he wasn't puritanical but displayed fathomless love especially to those who were rejected and marginalised by the self satisfied and pretentious. He showed us that worth lay in steadfastness, in compassion and forgiveness, not in wealth or supercilious power.
"The vision Jesus bequeathed transformed the culture of an empire and minted a set of values which still evade us.
"At Christmas, in silence and wonder, we thank God for such grace and pray that we may be transformed by the life of His son."
The Right Rev Professor Iain Torrance
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland