Moderator's advent message

I hope that your journey through advent has been inspired by the variety of thoughts that have been shared over this past 24 days. I'm grateful to the friends who agreed at short notice to share with us their own experiences of expectant waiting. There was a common theme in these advent reflections, a common narrative about God breaking through the ordinary to become - "God with us"

Now Christmas Day is upon us I hope that in one way or another, today or in the days to follow, you will find that God is with you.

This time of the year can be so busy that there is no time to make space for ourselves of for God

This time of the year can be so lonely that there is no sense of anyone being there for us never mind the presence of God

But remember the power of the first Christmas – Bethlehem at fever pitch, busier than it had ever been, but God breaks through to become the centre of the scene.

Mary and Joseph at the end of long and lonely journey, feeling like the outcasts that they were – but, they were not alone

That while the world gets on with its usual business – some of it cruel and some of it kind – God is right there in the middle of it all.

I hope that whatever this Christmas season is to you that God will break through and God's presence will be real to you.

One hundred Christmases ago in the most appalling conditions it was the Christmas story that had the power to punch a hole in the battle between the warring sides on the Western Front.

Men climbed out of their trenches, shared their tobacco and chocolate cake and kicked a football on a muddy field. Because even in these awful conditions and even if the day after tomorrow hostilities would be re-engaged; God could not be excluded.

This Christmas, it's my prayer that the God who cannot be excluded will break through into your busyness or your loneliness.

And, if nothing else, find a quiet moment to join me in praying that one day across the earth the God of peace will punch a hole in the hostilities that are still spread across too many warring fronts. When you take the time to do that, that's when you will find God breaking through in to your world.

Rt Rev John Chalmers
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland