Lancashire’s three Anglican Bishops have issued their annual Christmas messages to the County. This page features the Christmas message from the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson.
It is available to read below here and to view and share on social media now via YouTube. why not play the message during church services across the Christmas period if you can?
See the other messages from Bishop Philip and Bishop Jill which are also now available in our website news section.
Bishop Julian delivers the YouTube version of his message prior to participating in a children’s Christmas party and nativity and Grange Park Kidz Klub at The Grange Learning Centre in Blackpool.
The recent extraordinary election campaign has been about who holds the reins of power, who can form a government, and what our future relationship with Europe (and each other in the UK) is likely to be.
The election has invited the people of the country to vote on who they want to see in charge for the next five years. It has been a clear expression of democracy.
And while there will be very different views on the subsequent result and the choices people make about our leaders here, or in other democratic nations around the world, once a conclusion is reached then we have to get on with it.
The arrival of Jesus was massively misunderstood by the people of His time. The original script, God’s manifesto - the Bible - tells us that many years before God had promised that a child would be born, who would be a King and who would start to build a spiritual kingdom.
“The government would be on His shoulders and He would be called wonderful Counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. And of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9.6)
There were certainly no five-year terms envisaged.
Herod and other leaders were threatened by Him and had to get rid of Him, because they misunderstood that His was a spiritual Kingdom, bringing people back into relationship with their Maker. His is not a kingdom of this world.
As we celebrate Christmas this year in the wake of the recent election, let’s remember the claims of the original script: that Jesus was God on earth and behind the scenes holds the reins of history.
He was there at the beginning and will be there at the end as judge of all humankind.
We must not be fooled by His being a vulnerable baby. He is the One to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given and before Him every knee must bow and every tongue confess that He is indeed Lord.
That’s why Christmas should be about Him and that He should feature in our celebrations. He invites all people, not just some or a few, to accept that He longs to govern the hearts and minds and lives of all people. He waits patiently to be invited to be put at the centre rather than the margins of our lives. That is life in all its fulness.
Why not check out the ‘A Church Near You’ website on the internet? By visiting www.achurchnearyou.com you can find out where there is an Advent and/or Christmas event close to where you live in one of our many parish churches.
And when you visit, why not ask about signing up to a course that gives you the opportunity ask your questions about God and life?
May I wish all the people of Lancashire a joyful Christmas and a purposeful New Year.
Ronnie Semley, December 2019