The Right Reverend Peter Hancock speaks to the Gazette

A SHOP window caught my attention. It contained a large Father Christmas surrounded by snow encouraging me ‘To shop early for Christmas’.

I was somewhat surprised, however, as I was in shorts and flip-flops and it was August – one of those, seemingly few, hot summer days.

Christmas is a busy time for most of us and it is easy to get caught up in the noise, excitement and activity that is going on. However early we start our preparations, most of us still seem to be rushing around at this time of the year.

I love Christmas – the decorations, the parties, the friendly atmosphere, the cheeriness and the warm greetings which accompany us as we go about our daily lives.

But it is also a time when we need to remember those for whom Christmas will not be a joyful one, those who are lonely, homeless, cold or hungry, and those for whom this year will be their first Christmas without a loved one.

Christmas provides an opportunity for us to particularly think about, care and support those less fortunate than ourselves.

We need to ask ourselves ‘What can I do to make a difference for someone else this Christmas?’ It is also important not to lose sight of what, or rather who, is at the heart of our celebrations. At Christmas, we remember the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, born of Mary and laid in a manger. As the carol reminds us: ‘How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his Heaven.

No ear may hear His coming; but in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.’ May the joy, peace and love that comes from Jesus be with you all this Christmas time With warm greetings to all.

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