The Bible’s Christmas story is about people at risk and on the edge of things.
It’s about a stressful and unwelcome journey taken under duress by a heavily pregnant woman to a government registration point, and it ends with children being massacred.
It’s about an army of occupation and a refugee family on the run.
Does this not sound painfully contemporary and all too familiar?
In all the hustle and bustle of the festive season, the challenge is to let the real Christmas story lead us to a deeper appreciation of life’s meaning and purpose.
God shows what is possible by taking the worst we can imagine or experience and in a Bethlehem stable God promises us that mercy and love will not be defeated.
And the way God does it is as simple as it is profound – in the painful cries of a mother labouring and the precious cry of a child newly born.
It is a message of hope for our world, and a message of love for ourselves, and it comes from God as a blessing and a gift.
So rejoicing in the miracle of life new born, let me encourage you to go with peace in your heart to bring healing and hope to all who are in need, and to work and pray for a world that welcomes those who are far from home and guards the sleeping child.
My hope and prayer is that the joy of the angels, the humility of the shepherds, the wisdom of the magi, and the grace of the Christ child will be God’s gifts to you and to all the world this Christmas Day.
And let me wish you and yours a very merry Christmas.
Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr is the Moderator of the Church of Scotland