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Bishop of Lichfield uses Christmas message to call for unity and peace

The Bishop of Lichfield has used his Christmas message to urge people to look for “unity and peace”.

The Very Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave said society often featured division and anger, but said people should “cross the divides that separate us from one another”.

Dr Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Lichfield
Dr Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Lichfield

The full Christmas message is below:

For many people, Christmas involves a lot of visiting. You may have family or friends visiting you in your place; or you may yourself be a guest at somebody else’s; and we will always want to remember those who can neither visit nor be visited by others.

On Christmas morning, I will be in a house full of family, mine and my sister’s. We will have Skype conversations with children and grandchildren in Germany, Russia and Canada, and I will be leading worship both in Lichfield Cathedral and in HM Young Offenders’ Institution at Swinfen Hall, a couple of miles from Lichfield. I will ask the young men there: ‘Do you have any message for me to take to the people at the Cathedral?’ and I expect they will say what they say to me every year: ‘Bishop, wish them a happy Christmas from us and tell them we are praying for them’.

With others and on our own, in our place and in others’ places, in churches and in prisons, here and around the world, wherever Christmas is celebrated we are telling again the story of Jesus who carries the wonderful name Emmanuel, ‘God is with us’.

The early visitors at the birth of Jesus were a pretty mixed bunch – shepherds from the hillside, wise men from the east, Mary and Joseph, themselves travelling away from home, angels from the realms of glory, and tradition has added the ox and ass to represent all creation.

“What they have in common is just this one great gift – that God is with them, Emmanuel. 

This is a message of hope, unity and peace for our times. When we look around at our society we so often see division, anger and anxiety. But when we look at the crib of Emmanuel we see one who has crossed the great divide that separates us from the God who loves us.

“And that should encourage us to cross in love the divides that separate us from one another.

“Whoever or wherever you are visiting this Christmas, remember that God is with them and theirs as he is with you and yours, because we can all say, in the words of John: ‘He came to his own’.

He has come to us all to make our home his own.

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2 Comments

  1. Philip Allso

    21st December, 2018 at 8:26 am

    The best of intentions, ‘unity, peace’ across the divides. The reality……………….. No Man nor God will ever square that circle.

  2. AgitatorofPeople

    29th December, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Probably a nice bloke, but massively out of touch with reality, a shame, he could be doing so much more for those in need.