Bishop of Peterborough’s annual Christmas message
The Bishop of Peterborough, The Rt Revd Donald Allister’s Christmas message to city residents
We’ve had another strange year, with covid-19 restrictions early on, a relaxation in the summer, and further restrictions again at Christmas. We’ve also had the COP-26 climate change conference, and an up-and-down year of sport.
Many of us have lost loved ones through covid or in other ways; others have had special birthdays or anniversaries. However it has been for you, 2021 is almost over, and next year is set to break upon us.
What is the Christian message for the end of this year, and the beginning of 2022? HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR of course. I prefer “happy” to “merry” – merry is a lovely old word, but it has too many connotations of over-the-top festivities. Happy, properly understood, means deeply content and secure. I certainly wish that to you all.
But there is much more to say. Christmas reminds us that God doesn’t just leave this world to seesaw away from good to bad in a never-ending horror show. He isn’t just an absentee landlord or a spectator. He is involved in the world. He lived here, was a refugee, knew poverty, suffered unjustly, and died by cruel execution. He rose from the dead, and offers new life, eternal life, to those who follow him.
God isn’t just involved in this world. He claims to be the Lord of history, holding past, present and future in his hands. This is hard to understand, but we are about to move from AD 2021 to AD 2022, and AD stands for anno domini, the year of our Lord. 2021 was God’s year, and 2022 will be as well.
I hope you can have a happy Christmas, but, much more, that you can know the contentment and security, the deep peace, of Jesus Christ as your companion, friend, saviour and Lord.