As we prepare for Christmas this year, we cannot help but reflect on 2014 as having been an exciting year for Glasgow and for Scotland.
In midsummer, Glasgow hosted a very successful Commonwealth Games. Glasgow appeared to the world as a confident, welcoming, smiling city. Glasgow’s Games were miles better and we were all so proud.
Then in September we had the Independence Referendum and unprecedented public engagement with the issues around Scotland’s constitutional future, crystallising in a massively high voter turnout all over the country.
Young people were stirred to share their youthful vision for a better future and generations who had perhaps opted out of politics once more felt the desire to work for what they saw as the common good.
The legacy of these very singular and oneoff events is still unfolding, and we hope the benefits will match the promise.
For Christians, Christmas, the birth of Jesus, is the most unique and singular event not just of the year 2014, but in the history of the universe, because God became man.
Nothing can be more gratuitous, more unique or more singular than the mystery of th Incarnation.
The unfolding legacy of Christmas is also gratuitous and unique, and so much desired by the human heart: unconditional and neverending love, peace and friendship between God and mankind, and the wonderful news that God has made himself visible in Jesus, and, because of Jesus, is prepared to abide in people who love, forgive, serve and reconcile.
It is Jesus, born of Mary, who brings that legacy of Christmas to fulfilment in us and in the world, when we, his disciples and followers, are prepared to follow him faithfully and sacrifice ourselves unselfishly in generous service of our neighbour – a Christmas gift which is given and received 365 days a year, not just on December 25.
The Commonwealth Games and the Independence Referendum were moments when we glimpsed a huge common desire to improve Glasgow and to do what was best for Scotland.
Both were proofs of the goodwill and concern for others which still prevails in human hearts.
Christmas gives us an opportunity, year after year, to better our city and our country in the most profound way by bringing us the nearness of God in his Son, Jesus.
I wish all readers a happy, joyful and peaceful Christmas and a happy, healthy 2015.