Archbishop Cushley gave the Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Scotland ths morning (Wednesday 21 December). Listen to it below or on YouTube. Transcript below video.

Archbishop Cushley's Thought for the Day

"Good morning!

The very earliest archaeological evidence – from perhaps as long ago as 11,000 years – tells us that human beings noticed what happens today a very long time ago.

That is because today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Several thousand years later, Roman Christians noticed it too.

They knew there was no exact date known for the birth of Jesus, but they couldn’t think of a better time of the year than now to remember his birth.  And Christmas caught on…

At this time of the year, it has been getting darker and darker, and no one really likes that.

We’re creatures of warmth and light and we respond naturally to both.

The Greek storyteller Aesop tells the story of the sun and the wind arguing over who could make a man take his coat off.  The wind tried first: he blew and blew, and instead of the man taking his coat off, he just wrapped it around himself more and more.  The sun then shone upon him…and the man willingly took off the coat.

At Christmas, we celebrate how Jesus is the Light - and the loving warmth - of God, a light that cannot be overcome.

But there is little doubt that 2022 has not been a very happy one for the world’s peoples.

Brexit and Covid and inflation all loom over us.  Above all, continental Europe, accustomed to 70 years of peace, has seen war break out.

We have a lot to concern us, and a lot of grown-up thinking and acting now before us.

Our ancient ancestors noticed that today is the darkest day of the year.

But they also noticed that it preceded a gradual change back towards the light and the warmth that we all need, that we all enjoy.

Christians take this dark before the dawn – this happy moment - and call it Christmas, because we see the birth of Jesus as a turning point, towards the good, towards God, towards the warmth and the light of God.

Things can and do change for the better.  I hope they will for us all.

A merry Christmas when it comes!"