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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2019

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, General Election Outcome, Business Motion, UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill, Decision Time, Food Insecurity


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. Our first item of business today is time for reflection, for which our leader is the Rev Robert J M Anderson, the minister of Knockando, Elchies and Archiestown parish church, linked with Rothes parish church in Moray.

The Rev Robert J M Anderson (Knockando, Elchies and Archiestown Parish Church, linked with Rothes Parish Church, Moray)

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for this opportunity to share with you in your time for reflection.

As we approach Christmas, the fever of the season can begin to overtake us. There is so much to be done: cards to be written and food to be bought, and we think about gifts to be given. The area of gifts is one fraught with danger. I remember one year, when I was a child, I opened my present from my granny and received a pair of ladies stockings. My mother opened her present from my granny and received a child’s cowboy hat.

This year, I find myself thinking about what kind of gift I might have given to Jesus. A verse came to my mind from one of my favourite carols, “In the Bleak Midwinter”. Do you recall the last verse of that carol?

“What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.”

The gospel tells us that Jesus was born in circumstances that might have caused gossip in some circles. Furthermore, birth in a manger was hardly ideal from a health and hygiene point of view—and we remember that some children in the world today are still born in appalling conditions.

Joseph and Mary had journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to register to pay taxes. When they arrived in Bethlehem, a byre was the only place that they could find to stay. Out in the fields, though, working shepherds had an astonishing experience. A great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and announcing the birth of the Holy One. It was no ordinary night.

I return to my thoughts about what I might give to Jesus this Christmas—and always. I find my answer in the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 25. Jesus said:

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.”

It is the gift that should keep on giving. That is what local churches throughout the land strive to do, day by day. Happy Christmas. [Applause.]