Christmas Message from Archbishop John Bathersby
My dear people,
The greatest challenge to our faith, especially in today’s marvellously exciting, enormously interesting, and excessively busy world is the neglect of God.
There are just so many people who claim to believe in God but fail to worship. It is a contradiction in terms.
The very name of God as a person of overwhelming love for us collectively and individually should automatically trigger a response of gratitude, and a desire for relationship that manifests itself in prayer and worship.
Christmas fits within this framework of a God who loves us so much that he came to live among us on the first Christmas and remained forever.
It was the beginning of our relationship with a God who, despite suffering and death, endures.
Sometimes in looking at Christmas we see not God but a secular celebration that does good but would be able to do so much more if we could look beneath its trees and tinsel.
First and foremost Christmas must be about God and God’s great love for us. Once that is grasped everything else falls into place – the greeting of other people, the gifting of our friends, the affirmation of family, sometimes the settling of differences with others, and even the forgiveness of enemies.
Christmas can be an incredible time of love, but only if we can see the connection between love and Christmas.
Sometimes, almost inadvertently, we are caught up in the spirit of Christmas but fail to see the power that surrounds the manger, not the power of arms, not the power of money, not the power of possessions, but a power greater than all those – the power of love.
Let us therefore this Christmas thank God for this marvellous season given us by God. I wish each and every person a very happy and holy Christmas.
ARCHBISHOP JOHN BATHERSBY