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Happy Christmas

A very Joyful Christmas to one and all. I’ll resist saying Merry Christmas, because I know it won’t be merry for some of you, facing grief, pain and difficulties. But in the sense that God’s joy can be with us even in sorrow, I wish that joy to one and all.

On a day like this, I am thankful for the gift of God in Jesus Christ. I shall spend the morning ‘at work’ proclaiming this.

But of course I am by no means the only person who will be working today, and at least after my services are finished I can relax with the family. Others will be working long hours today, and I want to pay tribute to them – those providing meals and company for the lonely, the emergency services and so on. A member of one of my congregations will be spending the day volunteering in the A & E department of a local hospital.

In particular, I remember a Christmas about six ago, when one of our then rather small children was running a near-feverish temperature. How grateful we were for the staff at NHS Direct who were available at the other end of the phone to give us medical advice.

So a Joyful Christmas to you all. And particular blessings to those of you who are struggling, and those of you giving up your time to be available for others.