CHRISTMAS MESSAGE: the Rt Rev Andrew John


Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Rev Andy John


IAN Dury has a worthy legacy as a singer. Remember the Blockheads, rhythm sticks and reasons to be cheerful?

Good stuff, and of course this season abounds with reasons to be cheerful. The lights are switched on, the shops are full and Santa, clever chap, is everywhere.

Festivity abounds.

Since you began reading this, though, others things have happened too.
Someone has just lost a job, another business has hit trouble and someone’s debt has just got that much worse.

Personal debt in the UK stands at a staggering £1.421 trillion.

In short for some people this period is full of reasons to be fearful, and for some the only festive note leads to a period of oblivion, providing a kind of escape from it all.

Now I don’t suppose that angels singing Glory to God in the Highest offers much of a panacea to anyone whose world has just begun to fall apart.

Recent images from north Wales of those whose livelihoods have been ruined with their homes will remain for a long time.

But the angel’s song and the truth they bore wasn’t an invitation to escape anything at all.

Theirs was a stunning message that God has come to this place with all its crises, anxieties and troubles.

The babe in the manger was actually the creator of worlds, and those who see in his birth something of the way God loves the world, see that life can be different.

The world can be seen with new eyes and the needs of others take on a new urgency.

It’s in that place of discovering what a new life with Christ might be, that we discover something new about ourselves too.

Strangely and wonderfully that’s where we find peace, purpose and joy.

Or, in the words of the Blockheads, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’.

Have a joyful Christmas and may God go with you.


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