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Christmas message from Bishop Christopher

A Christmas message from the Bishop of Coventry has been broadcast on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire.

Bishop Christopher said:

"This Christmas there’s been a lot of talk about Christmas Day 100 years ago when the fighting suddenly stopped in the First World War and peace broke out in the trenches. Instead of killing each other, men shook hands, exchanged gifts and played football together. 

A certain Christmas television advert that depicts that scene has caused a fair bit of controversy – and maybe those remarkable hours are too sacred to be used for supermarkets to make more money – but I admit to have found it very moving nonetheless.

A young British soldier and an equally young German soldier, both moved by the sound of armies singing ‘Silent Night’ in different languages on Christmas Eve, rise out of the trenches of warfare to risk encountering each other as undefended human beings.

Christmas caused the guns to be silent, even if just for a few hours and even if just in a few places along the battle lines. 
Christmas calls us all to lay aside our own forms of warfare – irritation with our family, jealousy of our friends, hatred of our enemies – and to find a different, a more undefended way of relating to each other.

The silent night of Christmas was, indeed, a holy night, because it brought Jesus to the world, the ‘Son of God, love’s pure light’, as the carol says. That pure light shone even in the darkness of war.

I pray that same light will shine this Christmas in Syria and Iraq – not only on the fragile and endangered Christian communities as they gather around the crib of the Christ Child as they have two thousand years – but upon all the peoples of those lands; and on the parents in Peshawar in Pakistan who have been plunged into darkness by the murder of their own dear children.

And I pray that, in whatever conflicts and dangers we might find ourselves, the pure light of love that shines from the undefended presence of God in the Christ-child will rest upon each of us, and that we will be courageous enough to step deeper into that light and feel the peace that only God can give."

The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth
Bishop of Coventry

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