This is an online version of my column for the Christmas 2022 edition of the Billericay & Wickford Gazette.

It’s almost hard to believe we’ve reached the end of yet another year. And what a year it’s been.  COVID 19 still affects so many of our lives. Rail and postage strikes have taken their toll. We have a utilities crisis with more people are living in poverty than ever before  – choosing to ‘eat or heat’.

Not to mention rising interest rates and higher mortgages and more Foodbanks opening every week. And, with the war in Ukraine, we’re closer to a European War than we’ve been since 1945.  It’s quite depressing, isn’t it? All of these things threaten our long-term health, our livelihoods, our homes, our families, our communities, our mental health and even our faith.

But despite what 2022 might have brought our way, Christmas is Good News to each of us and brings new hope into our lives as we remember how Jesus came into this world to change the way we live. As an anonymous poet once said:

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.  If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.  If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Saviour.

And no matter how we try, we cannot separate the Christmas story from the Easter story. 

But we all know the true meaning of Christmas can often be lost in the busyness of the festive season. May I invite you, and your family and friends, to celebrate Christmas at Emmanuel, or a church near you, and put Jesus back at the heart of Christmas!

I wish you a wonderful Christmas and pray God’s richest blessing on you, and your family and friends.

May the Joy of the Angels, the Eagerness of the Shepherds, the Perseverance of the Wise Men, the Obedience of Joseph and Mary and the Peace of Jesus fill your hearts and lives this Christmas and in the year to come.


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