A CHRISTMAS Message from the Bishop of Winchester

The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, has shared his Christmas message for 2019, inviting people to donate to his Christmas Appeal for the charity Yellow Door.

"The full text of the message is below.

"Christmas can be a wonderful time of year for families and friends to gather and celebrate together.

"Sadly, for some families in this country, Christmas is not always a peaceful and happy time but one of tension and conflict.

"The TV adverts present an image of Christmas as happiness for all – especially if we buy their products.

"Across our region, there are thousands of families experiencing hardship, including relationship breakdown.

"There are some excellent specialist organisations working in Hampshire and East Dorset, supporting families, children and individuals in our communities who are experiencing an unhappy and unsafe home environment.

"This year, I have nominated Yellow Door as my Christmas appeal charity, a Southampton-based organisation providing prevention and support services for those at risk of domestic and sexual abuse.

"The dedicated staff and volunteer team provide an invaluable service to our local communities.

"Compassion for others is central to the life and teaching of Jesus. The birth of Jesus Christ shows God’s great compassion and mercy towards all people.

"God gave his Son, Jesus, to live among us.

"He experienced the joys but also the pain and suffering of human life.

"Through his death, he restores us to God and mends our broken relationships.

"We can all receive the joy of his forgiveness and the hope of new life and resurrection.

"Jesus himself was born from a line of broken people and dysfunctional families – murderers, abusers and adulterers. Tamar was abused, Rahab was a prostitute, Ruth was a vulnerable foreign migrant and Mary was a young unmarried mother (Matthew 1:2-6 and 16).

"Yet Jesus Christ was still the greatest gift to earth. Jesus brought healing to his own ancestral family; he brought gifts of love and peace, and the offer of true happiness in our relationships with God and one another.

"With every blessing."

Rev Tim Dakin

Bishop of Winchester