The Crib – a sign of love – God with us

Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Churches Together (GCT) together marked the true meaning and purpose of the Christmas season on 5 December 2012, with the Blessing of the Crib in George Square.

The Lord Provost, Cllr. Sadie Docherty, and members of the Council joined church leaders and representatives, the Alba Brass Quintet, the St. Mungo Singers, the Gorbals Children’s Choir, harpist Carissa Bovill and a crowd of Glaswegians. The coldness of the evening certainly didn’t seem to have affected attendance.

The service started with the cheering sound of “O Come all Ye Faithful”, before the Lord Provost welcomed everyone to the celebration in song, prayer and verse and invited them all to enjoy this time for togetherness and reflection.

The scripture reading was a extract from the telling of the Christmas story in St. Luke’s Gospel, sung by cantor Gerry Healy and the St. Mungo Singers. It was followed by the much loved carol “Silent Night” to the accompaniment of the harp.

Some of those present in the Square

It was with some surprise perhaps that those taking part realised that the background noises from the carnival, ice-skating etc. were no longer noticeable, and in the midst of the busy square, there was a little oasis of quiet and reflection.

The Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery, Rev. Howard Hudson, pronounced the blessing of the Crib – reflecting that the Crib is a reminder to us of how God had come to us, a sign of love which gives a sense of hope and encouragement, a reminder that we are all members of the one human family and that God is with us.

The children and choir then led the carol “Away in a Manger”. Rev. Alan Anderson brought greetings from the churches involved in GCT and took the opportunity to plug the Carols for Peace service which will take place on 16 December 2012 in the City Chambers, inviting those present to help fill the hall.

Major Catherine Wyles of the Salvation Army read prayers for city leaders, for all those for whom this festive season is a time of difficulty and for all those experiencing war as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. She asked that we might share with those in need and that Glasgow play its part in working for peace.

The blessing on those present was said by all the church leaders and people were invited to exchange a sign of peace with those around them, and the invitation was taken up with enthusiasm. The Gorbals Children’s Choir, resplendent in Santa hats with flashing lights, sang a bright lively modern carol “Love Shine a Light” which had everyone humming along.

Gorbals Children’s Choir in their bright sparkling hats, with the Lord Provost and church leaders

As the service drew to a close, Bishop Gregor Duncan of the Scottish Episcopal Church thanked all those who had made it so memorable. In particular he thanked the children whose hats (and singing) had expressed the joy of the season. The final carol was the lovely “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. It was an indication perhaps of how much people had enjoyed the experience that they seemed in no hurry to leave, despite the cold, but stayed to talk and to look at the Crib.