Milverton, Somerset

Bringing comfort and joy

One of our oldest (16th century) English carols tells us that the story of Jesus’ birth as a baby into our world, is good news, bringing ‘tidings of comfort and joy’. And don’t we just need comfort and joy at this moment.

We know that Christmas will not be the same this year. The usual gatherings of family and friends will not have the same shape this year. Traditional carol services and Midnight Mass may not be possible either but that doesn’t mean that Christmas is cancelled!

This year more than ever we need to carol the words, ‘comfort and joy’. We need to find new and novel ways of telling the Christmas story. The Church of England and our own diocesan team have provided plenty of ideas by which we can bring Christmas to our communities. I’m going to be both a tax collector and a donkey in some of our diocesan video re-telling of the story!

Perhaps even more important is how we can personally be messengers of comfort and joy. Who do you know who might need you to bring them so comfort this Christmas? Maybe someone who is alone, especially anxious, grieving a loved one? How could you offer comfort and support

And as for joy…? Perhaps we ourselves need to rediscover the joy of the Christmas story. What could be more wonderful than knowing that God loves us so much that even though it was costly, He chose to come and join us in a world, dark with fear and suffering, and bring the light of His presence!

Bishop Ruth