For many people in politics, regardless of their party persuasion, Christmas this year will come as a blessed relief – a break from frenetic campaigning after a year of change and uncertainty, and a chance to switch off, reacquaint oneself with family and friends, and recharge the batteries.
In thinking about the week ahead, we might well have our families as the priority; we might make time to remember less fortunate than ourselves. But will we reflect on what Christmas really means?
Christmas is actually about an extraordinary mystery, of God becoming man and walking among us, born of a virgin mother. As one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers, the apostle John, put it, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (St John 1 v. 14).
The rituals of Christmas are familiar to us all: the singing of carols; the giving of presents; the Nativity plays with tots dressed as angels, shepherds and kings. We are all so accustomed to it that we rarely step back and see how extraordinary the story really is: a story so literally incredible that if it were not for the eye-witness accounts from the time that have been passed down to us, we could fairly dismiss it as nothing more than a seasonal fairy tale.
But the message of Christmas is a serious one, more important than life and death, one of eternal life, of redemption, of salvation, and of pain, humiliation, suffering, and boundless, unconditional love.
This Christmas I hope you will have time to enjoy with those closest to you, but I hope you will also reflect on what this festival really means, and whether that matters to you.
Murdo Fraser is a Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland & Fife