Bishop’s Hugh’s Christmas Message

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing which has happened which the Lord has made known to us” (Lk 2:15).

This is what the shepherds say to one another after the angel has shared the Good News of the Saviour’s birth.

Once again, we too want to go to Bethlehem and to see God’s gift in the newborn Child.

Even if we are physically alone, we don’t go alone. We go with believers all over the world, as members of the Church, walking together and in communion with
one another and the Successor of Peter. We go with the people we carry in our hearts. We go mindful of those enduring war or sickness or hardship and who may not be able to acknowledge Christ or experience any of the joy the angels announce. We go for others as well as ourselves, simply and doggedly like the shepherds and the wise men. Even animals and angels are involved: the whole of creation is realigned by the Child in the manger. He is the still centre of the turning world. He is magnetic, with a power to draw which is all his own.

And when we reach him, what do we see, what do we come to? “To the things that cannot be and that are”, as someone wisely and wonderfully said.

Things that cannot be and that are:

  • a virgin who is a mother,
  •  a man who is God,
  • men and women born again to eternal life as children of the Father.

These are things that, left to ourselves, we would all say “cannot be”, that don’t happen. But Christmas says they have happened and “are”. Wonders. We are so sure we know what’s possible, what can happen and what can’t. We are so stuck in our mindsets. Christmas blows things open. Christmas gives birth to other possibilities. We are allowed to imagine and dream. We can venture and dare. We can try. Above all, in faith and hope, we can entrust our baffled selves and our ravaged world to an ultimate Love.

We can learn what Mary learned: “nothing is impossible to God” (Lk 1:37).

I wish you all the best of Christmasses,
Yours devotedly in Christ,

+ Hugh OSB Gilbert OSB
Bishop of Aberdeen


RC Diocese of Aberdeen Charitable Trust.
A registered Scottish Charity Number SC005122