Written on 20/12/2023
A Christmas message, from the Very Revd Dr Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby
We live in a world where there is too much darkness. As the days draw near towards Christmas we live with the least light of any time of year. And we live in a dark world in other ways – with war in so many parts of the globe; with poverty, famine and adverse weather conditions caused by global warming, with the cost-of-living crisis still proving crippling for far too many families.
It’s easy to despair amid the gloom of what is happening around us. But at Christmas God born in a stable in Bethlehem says that the darkness of this world does not have the last word. Search our own hearts and deep-down something continues to stir in us. In our hearts there is an instinctive longing for peace and justice. There is a deep desire in each of us for an end to the violence and wickedness the world offers. There is a longing that we might be able to live in a better world with dignity and respect for all.
At Christmas time this hope for the future is revealed to us. The Tree of Light just beside me, the Cathedral’s Christmas tree, warms us – its sparkling lights, and gold decorations, and its Christmas tree labels hanging from the many branches.
Each label has a message, and they are written in the many languages spoken amongst us. Messages of peace, love, and hope. Prayers from asylum seekers; prayers for those who are unwell or lonely; prayers remembering those who are no longer with us. The whole diversity of our life together is represented with all our fears and hope, our joys, and anxieties at Christmas.
At Christmas we light candles. This is the light of God that is warm and welcoming and invites us towards it. Light banishes the darkness and brings hope to our lives.
And light points us to love born at Christmas at Bethlehem, the one born of a virgin and lying amongst the cattle and in a manger. God make his home amongst us amid disadvantage and poverty. This is Jesus who is the light of the world, and he is the Prince of Peace. It’s the Prince of Peace who is able to transform the human heart and turn it to the purposes of love. God born in Jesus is the one who can bring about a better world, if only we can allow him to move into our hearts.
May I wish you all a very happy Christmas!
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.
You can watch the Christmas Message on the Cathedral YouTube channel
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