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Meeting of the Parliament [Draft]

Meeting date: Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, COP27 Outcomes, Standing Order Rule Change (Proxy Voting), Urgent Question, Motion without Notice, Decision Time, Carers Rights Day 2022, Correction


Contents


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is Gareth Edwards of Perth Gospel Hall.

Gareth Edwards (Perth Gospel Hall)

Thank you, Presiding Officer, and good afternoon, everyone.

December has arrived and the usual chaotic countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun. Next weekend, I will have the privilege of speaking at three Christmas carol services at different locations around Perthshire. Those are always extremely joyful occasions that bring communities together at this special time of the year.

However, the thing that excites me most about the events is the opportunity to share the Christmas message from the Bible. That message, which the angels described to the shepherds as one of good news and of great joy for all people, was:

“unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

I do not know whether any of you have started your Christmas shopping just yet—maybe, like me, you feel like it is still a couple of weeks too early for that. Finding the right gift for the people whom we love and working out what they really need the most is not always that easy, is it?

If you could give one gift to the people of Scotland this Christmas, what it would be? What is the greatest need of our nation? The Christmas story reminds us of mankind’s greatest need and of God’s perfect gift to meet that need. God knew exactly what we required. That was not simply another preacher or philosopher or even a politician, but a saviour to rescue us from ourselves and to save us from our sins. That is why the Bible says:

“The Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Saviour of the world.”

He sent a Saviour who would bring forgiveness, recovery, peace, love, joy, purpose and hope to all who would receive him. Are not those the very things that the people of Scotland really need today?

More than that, the Bible says:

“the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Jesus came to purchase that gift for us through his death on the cross to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. God’s gift to us today is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ, who not only died but rose again on the third day. Today, through him, eternal life is offered to everyone who wants it—that is, life linked to God, life lived to the full and life leading to heaven.

My Christmas prayer is that the people of Scotland—including yourselves—will not be like the innkeeper at Bethlehem who had no room for Jesus, but will instead realise that Jesus is God’s perfect gift to meet our greatest need, and that many will receive him into their hearts by faith this Christmas.

Thank you very much for your time, and God bless you all.