Dear Friends, 

As we enter the season of love, peace, and joy, I pray God’s richest blessing upon your celebration of Christ’s birth.

Christmas is about the mystery of the Incarnation: “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth”.

Many of you have made a real effort this year to be conscious of those in need and to give generously to assist people.  Thank you very much.  Many of you have and do seek to minister to the pain of those who suffer in any number of ways.  I thank you for your pastoral care.  There are also those in the Diocese who care fiercely for the environment and they do all they can to make people aware of the encroaching threat and reality of climate change.  Thank you for being a prophetic voice in our midst and  for reminding people to care for God’s world.  There are those who address the injustice inherent in  the financial and social structures of our society and I thank them for speaking out and drawing attention to what needs to be changed to make our city and country a just society.

These good works and acts of mercy began largely with the Church’s initiative to share the love of God.  Nevertheless each year I am astounded by how knowledge of God’s saving act in the birth of Jesus Christ is less and less known in the world at large.  This is very sad because God entering this world as a baby, in order to save us, is extraordinary.  The story of God with us, struggling to find a place to be born and then being worshipped by farm-hands and sages, is life-changing.  So please share the story of Christ’s advent this Christmas with a loved one, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.  Invite someone to join you when you attend church at Christmas.

On Christmas day many will exchange gifts.  Let’s each and all pause and give thanks for the greatest gift of all: God’s only son, born of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we might be reconciled to the God of heaven and earth.  It’s a gift beyond all telling.

In the saving name of Jesus,

Bishop of Christchurch