As Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said in her words of welcome to the service, the Blessing of the Crib in George Square is an event which is growing in importance as part of the City’s calendar of celebrations, and one which enables us to share the true meaning of Christmas.
For once, the weather was favourable – the seemingly endless rain had stopped and it was not cold. George Square was bright with lights and people skating or enjoying the various attractions. By contrast, the crib could be described as quite simple, even plain, but its very simplicity caught the eye against the surrounding dazzle.
The Lord Provost was joined for the service of blessing by representatives of the various churches involved in Glasgow Churches Together, and by the children’s choir from John Paul II Primary (resplendent in Santa hats with flashing lights) and the Alba Brass ensemble.
The children led us in singing several well-loved carols before Archbishop Tartaglia blessed the crib which he described as a reminder of the peace and heavenly joy of Christmas. He then read the simple narrative of the birth of Christ from St. Luke’s Gospel. This was followed, appropriately, by the carol “Away in a Manger”.
Fr. David Wallace, Chair of Glasgow Churches Together, led us in brief intercessory prayers for the City, its civic leaders and its citizens, and for peace and prosperity for all people throughout the world, before inviting everyone to join in saying the Lord’s Prayer.
The short but enjoyable service ended with a joint blessing from the church representatives and a final bouncy Christmas song “We wish you a Merry Christmas” . A small interlude, perhaps, in a very commercialised season, but a lovely marking of the meaning of Christmas placed in the centre of our city, and an opportunity for our fellow citizens to stop and ponder as they go about their Christmas shopping.