A painting of the Nativity with Our Lady looking down at the newborn Jesus, shining brightly, as St Joseph and the shepherds look on

2023 Christmas Message from Bishop John

Sunday 24th December 2023

As we celebrate the feast of Our Lord’s Nativity today, Bishop John shares a special message, inviting us to reflect on a key theme of this wonderful season: hope.

In a year that has seen so many challenges at home and globally – from poverty and conflict, to climate change and the spiralling refugee crisis – it might seem difficult to feel overly joyful this Christmas.

But Bishop John reminds us that the very meaning of Christmas is hope: that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son”, a gift that gave hope to the whole human race. By living by that sense of hope, spurred on by our unique call to mission, Bishop John reminds us of the very real impact we can make in our world today.

He said: “I wish you a very happy Christmas. And I think, this year, we’ve got to remember that central to our celebration of Christmas, must be hope. It’s that hope that God loved the world so much that he sent his only son to be our Redeemer, to be “the way, the truth and the life” and it’s hope that we need, especially as we celebrate Christmas this year.

“The world is in conflict. So much is going wrong. There are millions of people migrating for economic and political reasons being persecuted. There’s all sorts of problems are mounting because of climate change, global problems. Global issues needing to be resolved. But we’ve also got our local issues, too, that so many of our children, even in Greater Manchester, are living in poverty and we’re the most prosperous country in the world. We need to be sorting out our priorities.

“And so it’s with that sense of hope that we must celebrate Christmas. And let’s remember that Pope Francis says each and every one of us has our part to play. We might think that we’ve not got a great deal of power or can make much of an impact. But working together, even with the smallest details of every day, what God places in our lives, the people he places in our lives, can we show our love and care and concern for them?

“If so, that will all mount up to making a great deal of difference. And it’s our prayer: to pray that, in hope, we can resolve the problems facing us in our world.

“So, God bless you as we mark the birth of Jesus. And let’s pray that hope will become a reality in this coming New Year.”

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