Bishop Christine's Christmas Message 2017

23/12/2017

Christmas is an extraordinary time for most of us, and it has a great ability to intensify things. If there’s joy, a new baby arriving in the family, or a new relationship beginning, the joy is intensified. But it’s also true that if there is sadness, for example the first Christmas after the death of a loved one, that sadness is intensified too.

In my years of ministry, I’ve come to realise that the jolly TV image, of family and friends gathered for turkey and Christmas pudding, doesn’t do justice to this intensity of feeling. Especially in times of loneliness. Loneliness is not just felt by those who find themselves living alone through lack of choice, bereavement or family breakdown, but is also the experience of many people, in relationships and single, who also live with an inner emptiness that can be very difficult to share in their search for some peace and hope.

The message that we often hear, unfortunately more so at this time of year, is that one of the answers to this seeking for peace and hope can be found in having more, and consuming more. If we only had this or that, then everything would be fine. This is 'fake news'. Building a life on this way of living, on things that are temporary, doesn't even get close to satisfying the deep inner hunger for peace and hope.

In Jesus Christ, we can find a journey towards peace for the past and we find hope for the future. We can begin to see the present through a very different lens. Each day becomes a place of possibility, grounded in the love that God has for us, a place of healing for ourselves and for our relationships, and a place of freedom and transformation where things can be different, for ourselves and for the ways in which we can shape our world.

The Christmas story reminds us that peace and hope can be ours, if only we look for them in the right place.

May you know the peace and hope of Christ this Christmas.

+ Christine 

 

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