Bishop James' Christmas message - 2012

Bishop James has recorded a Christmas message for our diocese

Christmas message for the Daily Post (2012)

Below is Bishop James' message for the Post and ECHO

“In the bleak mid winter
frosty winds made moan
earth stood hard as iron
water as a stone”

This Christmas will be a bleak winter for many. The prospects are not much better for the rest of the decade. Over the next four years the City Council will be forced to cut its budget by 52%.

These are draconian measures. They’re the result of cuts in funding by central Government. There are big questions to be asked about the fairness of these cuts. The fact is the poor will be hit the hardest. This Christmas many will be feeling it’s a cruel world.

It felt a cruel world to Mary. Her husband, a good man, threatens to abandon her when he found out she was pregnant. In the last stages of pregnancy she makes a long and dangerous journey. About to give birth and nowhere to lay his head she settles for a feeding trough to be the baby’s crib.

Bereft of family to support her she’s joined by strangers and poor shepherds to celebrate her child’s birth. But rubbing the shine off this celebration comes news that the baby’s life is threatened and they are forced to flee the country, seeking asylum in Egypt.

It’s the shepherds who warm my heart in this story. They were poor and lived a hard life out on the cold hills. They brought nothing but themselves. Their presence was their present to Jesus, Joseph and Mary.

However hard up we may feel this year there’s always someone who is more so. Spare a thought for them – and follow the shepherds example and be there for them, in Christ’s name and for Christ’s sake. For according to Jesus that’s where we’ll find him this Christmas. The carol ends:

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.”

I wish you a Happy Christmas that gives someone else a Happy Christmas.

© The Bishop of Liverpool
December 2012