The Bishop of Dudley reflects on 2015 in his Christmas Message

The Rt Rev Graham Usher

The Rt Rev Graham Usher has reflected on the past year in his annual festive message as people across the world celebrate Christmas Day.

The Rt Rev Graham Usher said: “There have been many stark images in the media this past year and some of them still haunt me

“A number have changed public thinking and government policy. Portraits of refugees seeking sanctuary. Pictures of the aftermath of terrorism by those who threaten our common life. Images of personal belongings and aircraft seats strewn across a desert.

“There will also be those very personal pictures that you have carried in your mind. Memories of joy as well as sorrow, plenty as well as austerity, health as well as illness, contentment as well as unease.

“Into all of this, and our noisy world, God slips in quietly and unnoticed. As one Christmas carol puts it, ‘How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given’.

“Whilst the Christmas story is something that seems so familiar and heart-warming, it’s also a collage packed full of harsh challenge. The Saviour is born round the back of an inn, not in a royal palace. His company are the despised and dirty shepherds. Joseph and Mary, together with their little bundle of new life, flee for their lives to another country. King Herod wages terror and the women of Bethlehem wail.

“It’s a mosaic of many emotions.

“But it also keeps reminding us of God’s wondrous gift of being with us, among us, and for us. That gift is like a light shining in the dark places of the world and our lives.

“A light that banishes darkness and desperately wants to usher in peace and love and joy. How hard it is, but it’s what God so, so yearns for us.

“I pray that you and yours, together with all who share our one world, will have a peaceful, loving and joyous Christmas.”

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