Bishop Richard’s Christmas Message

What we need to be sharing at Christmas

is the extravagant love of Jesus

When I think back through the many Christmases I have enjoyed over the years my main memory is the people I shared my day with. Family gatherings around the Christmas table, catching up with old friends and being part of some wonderful Christmas services are all things I treasure. I think it’s because at these times I feel loved and can offer love to others.  And for me, as a Christian, it is through that love that I feel I experience some of the overwhelming love that God had for his world  when he sent his son to be born among us in that humble stable.  That’s what Christmas is about. That story, that experience, that love is what can transform us at Christmas. It’s the route to true contentment and the real reason for celebration.

The consumer and retail giants would have us think a different story. Over the last few years their vast resources have been channelled into selling a narrative that peace and contentment comes through an ever more expensive gift. That only by sharing a more extravagant present, potentially bought at an extravagant price, can you really be said to be in the Christmas spirit. Well we don’t need that form of extravagance.

What we need to be sharing is the extravagant love of Jesus, for example by supporting those who face food poverty through foodbanks. We need to be opening our hearts to those around us so no one faces a Christmas alone. We need to be surrounding ourselves with the extravagant love of Jesus. That is the kind of extravagance that costs us little but offers others so much.

I wish all readers a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.