Christmas Eve message by Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn

Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn
Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn

I was shocked to hear child poverty has been rising since 2011/12.

I was shocked to hear child poverty has been rising since 2011/12.

The existence of foodbanks and the increase in their use in recent months is a sad reflection on this struggle; though of course we pay tribute to the many who are engaged in providing this crucial lifeline.

And the problem is that the way we do Christmas in this country now doesn’t help.

The focus on having things and giving things, in response to the subtle advertising campaigns about what makes for a perfect Christmas, only increases that sense of division between those who have much and those who have little. It also creates the pressure to buy on credit, go into debt, and live for now, without thinking of the consequences.

I was moved to read the story of a new young Christian believer in the Middle East. They had no gifts to unwrap, but the gifts Jesus gave them were more precious than anything a human could give.

Just over a year ago a young family not far from here went to a poor country for a holiday and the three children saw other children there with nothing. When last Christmas they were overwhelmed by presents, they decided to give one of their presents away.

A happy Christmas does not depend so much on what you have, but who you have.

Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn