Our annual celebration of Christmas reminds us of the power of love. It is at Christmas that we make an effort to send Christmas cards to people who are special to us, even if it is the only time of year that we write to them. We buy presents for our families and friends; we decorate our homes, offices and churches; and we travel large distances so that we can be with the people whom we love most.
Nothing can replace the excitement on a young child’s face when they see that Father Christmas has been to visit, or the simple joy of older members of our families when they can celebrate Christmas with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As Christians, we believe that our love for one another is a sign of God’s love for us. The Bible teaches us that ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’. Our cards, presents, Christmas trees, dinners and parties all give thanks to God for sending us Jesus, born of Mary in Bethlehem, announced by the angels, and visited by shepherds and wise men.
So I hope that we will all have a happy Christmas, with the people whom we love. But I hope that we will also give something of ourselves to those who are on their own this Christmas, maybe by visiting a lonely neighbour and making sure they are alright. We think as well of the housebound, the sick in hospital, those who are far from home, especially those who have sought asylum in our city, those who are in prison, and the brave men and women of Her Majesty’s Forces who are on deployment overseas. And if you can, please go to church on Christmas Day, and listen once again to the great story of Christmas, and what God’s love means for us today.
With my prayers and every good wish for you and your families for a happy and peaceful Christmas,
Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP
Archbishop of Liverpool