Good afternoon. Upon arriving in Scotland in August 2013, my companions and I were driven along the winding road from Aberdeen to Elgin. At once, we were struck by the beauty of Scotland—the rolling hills, the glistening water, the open fields at harvest time, and the clear and sweeping sky that seemed to reach on endlessly in the distance. It was breathtaking—and it was not raining.
We continued down the A96, eventually travelling through the small town of Keith just as school was letting out. I will never forget that new moment of joy and the faces of those beautiful Scottish children, who in all their simplicity far overtook the natural beauties of northern Scotland. Some were on their scooters, some were hand-in-hand with their mums and some were in a pack of friends. A number were smiling and skipping, while others were clearly tired or grumpy. It did not matter; those few moments of driving through Keith somehow reaffirmed for us the beauty and power of life. Life is good in all its simplicity, and it is worth celebrating.
Human beings were made to celebrate; we were made to rejoice in all that is good. We can find countless reasons to celebrate, be it a beautiful day, a good job, our cultural heritage or the fulfilment of our hopes.
No matter what joy such realities bring, none surpasses the moment when new life comes into the world. It is a sacred and unrepeatable moment. At such a moment, the world itself is changed and filled with a delight that reaches up and touches the eternal.
Christians look forward to the coming weeks of Advent as a time of preparation for the greatest gift of life ever to come to earth. We celebrate that wee babe, Jesus Christ, who was born to a simple couple in a small remote village, probably not unlike Keith. As with all children, his arrival brought joy and hope and forever changed the world in which he lived.
Christians celebrate this wee child as coming to give us new life. No longer need we walk in darkness, for Christ has come. He is the true light of the world.
We are grateful to be here in Scotland, living our religious life and sharing the message of the wee infant Jesus Christ, who came that we might have life and have it to the full.