Church of Scotland Moderator Calls for Focus on Real Meaning of Christmas

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Alan McDonald, delivered a dramatic speech Monday in which he made the call for an end to the 'plastic' Christmas that descends upon Britain each winter and for the focus to be firmly fixed on the true meaning behind the festivities.

The Moderator issued the call in a speech delivered Monday afternoon to members of the Alternativity organisation in Glasgow, as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations.

Rev McDonald praised the organisation as "one of the best signs of new life in the Church in Scotland in the last decade as it is important to have a different angle on Christmas."

He also reminded listeners of the reality faced by so many in the real Bethlehem today.

"It is vital to encourage thoughts of the present and not to think only of the kitsch Victorian Christmas card scene of Bethlehem... but to think of Bethlehem today and for the peace that is so longed for," he said.

He praised the work of Alternativity in supporting individuals on the hunt for something deeper than what the current commercial Christmas provides.

"It is of great concern that so many people feel under pressure to present the perfect Christmas. The poorest in our society, and women, are particularly vulnerable at this time of year. Alternativity gives people the confidence to take small steps away from the commercial Christmas."

The organisation works through churches to stimulate debate and inspire new thoughts on how to present the true meaning of Christmas whilst taking out aspects of Advent and Christmas that are unhelpful, stressful or which run counter to the real meaning of Christmas.

The Alternativity celebrations took place on Monday at Anderston Kelvingrove Church in Glasgow.