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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 30 January 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill, Business Motion, Motion without Notice, Decision Time, St Andrew’s First Aid


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. The first item of business today is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Christine Barclay, rector of St Peter’s church in Linlithgow and St Columba’s church in Bathgate.

The Rev Christine Barclay (St Peter’s Church, Linlithgow and St Columba’s Church, Bathgate)

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you this afternoon.

Here we are at the end of January. The days are lengthening and we are heading towards springtime. Christmas may be just a memory. Trees and decorations are down, presents have been put away and thank you messages have been delivered. Yes—Christmas has a tick in the box; it is done for this year. However, in the Christian calendar we will still be in the season of Christmas until the feast of Candlemas on Friday, when we will celebrate Christ, the light of the world, being presented in the temple. So before we leave the season, we should look again at the characters in the Christmas season before we put them away for another year. They were not just for that first Christmas; they have a message for us every day, as God leads creation and humankind forward.

Mary’s amazing belief that God could—and would—keep his promise reminds us to have faith in God, who does not break promises, and to be obedient to our promises, however hard that might be.

What a journey Joseph had. He reminds us that our doubts can be so valuable, for they can help us to be honest with God and with ourselves.

The shepherds, who lived on the margins of society, remind us of God’s love for the forgotten and left behind in our world.

The magi—who, TS Eliot wrote, had a long, hard journey, at the worst time of the year—remind us of those who are up against the powerfully corrupt, who are prepared to do whatever they have to to those who stand in their way. The gifts that they brought to lay at the feet of Jesus also remind us of the gifts that we all bring: offerings of our time, talents and experience. That is a very special reminder to those of us who have the privilege and opportunity of serving others.

Finally, there is Jesus, our central character, who St John referred to as

“the light of the world”

and who came to take the world out of darkness. That is a reminder to us, here and now, that Jesus’s light always overcomes darkness. There is so much darkness in our world today. How can each one of us walk with and guide forward those whose lives are dark or lack hope? Each person is precious.

May God inspire and strengthen you all for your service to our nation.