Christmas message from the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

Dr John Sentamu hopes for a time of peace and joy

Dr John Sentamu hopes for a time of peace and joy

Published in News

I always hope Christmas will be a time of peacefulness and joy. A time to say thank you and a time to celebrate.

Looking around the busy shops in York or even if you've decided to do some shopping online, it is easy to be worn down with the enormity of the expense of Christmas and be weighed down by a frantic search for the perfect present for a loved one.

But this year, instead of trying to buy yourself the perfect Christmas, why not focus on the things that bring real happiness – love your friends, family and God more. Be a present to them!

Looking back at 2012, it has been the most fantabulous year. We have celebrated together Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and we also cheered on our Team GB in our home nation Olympics.

Jointly, we have admired the dedication, the commitment, the duty, and we all have shared in the joy of the success of athletes like Bradley Wiggins and Jessica Ennis. Who knows what will happen when the Tour de Yorkshire unfolds!

Part of my work as an Archbishop involves me visiting many schools and colleges – and I am always amazed by the individual talents and gifts of young people. So if you’re a young person reading this, be encouraged. With God at your side, anything is possible!

You might not all become Olympians, but like the Shepherds in the Nativity, God reveals himself to a wide variety of people, in a wide variety of ways. We are all important to Him and we are all invited to the celebration.

When I was growing up in Uganda, we had a big family. Our parents always gave us love and attention. I was one of 13 children, and my parents used to read to us and tell us stories. We all felt incredibly valued and loved.

When I was 12 years old, a missionary in Uganda bought me a bicycle so that I could ride to school each day. Without that love and generosity I probably would not be where I am today. For me receiving that bike was a life-changing gift.

This Christmas, might you rethink how you might serve others to help them realise their potential? It is our time and our relationships that have much greater value than anything that can be bought on the high street.

Tomorrow morning, I will be preaching at the Christmas service in the magnificent setting of York Minster. For the first time, my sermon will be tweeted live throughout the service. And if you can't get your local Church, this year you can still share in the joy of the services online. We are using the hashtag #ChristmasStartsWithChrist. Don't miss out!

However you decide to celebrate Christmas, at a carol service, at Church or listening to radio, or even online, may you this Christmas know the joy of the angels and may you come to know God's peace which passes all understanding.

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