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For many Christmas is a time of great joy and excitement, but for others it can be a time of loneliness, with memories of grief and pain; especially so after the events of this year.

With that in mind, The Church of England in Lancashire has released a ‘Blue Christmas reflection’ video to provide comfort to people who may be struggling at this time of year.

It is available for anyone to watch now and on the run-up to Christmas here on the Diocesan YouTube channel or use this full url: https://youtu.be/kby0C78gU84 

The reflection is introduced by Bishop Jill, and is led by Fr Neil Kelley, of St Laurence’s Church in Chorley, Lancashire. It features a Bible reading from Luke’s Gospel by Joy Rushton, Being Witnesses Manager for the Diocese.

Lasting around 15 minutes it also includes prayers; a reading of the poem ‘For Grief’ by John O’Donohue; the hymn ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ and a blessing from Bishop Jill.

Bishop Jill said today: “I’m so conscious at this time of year can be a really difficult time for many people, especially those who are recently bereaved.

“We wanted to reach out with this special reflection that allows space to be sad at this time; a reflection that focuses our thoughts on Jesus Christ.

“Particularly at this time of year, we are reminded that Jesus came to earth to bring light even into the deepest darkness and, in place of pain, to bring us peace – a peace that passes all understanding.”

Fr Neil added: “In a normal year Christmas can be a real mixed blessing. For some, the pain of grief, loneliness and isolation are heightened; particularly when we are not able to support one another physically in the way we are used to doing.

“We hope this reflection will help to ease troubled hearts and bring some comfort to people who may be struggling in any way at this time.”