The Bishop of Sheffield, The Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft has spoken of the need to remember and help those that are feeling lonely or under financial pressures going into the new year.
In his annual sermon, given in Sheffield Cathedral on Christmas Day, Bishop Steven spoke of the story of Christmas and how, on the birth of the baby Jesus, the angels shouted of “good news of great joy for all the people.”
The Bishop commented that to really understand the message of the angels, we all have to look beyond the Christmas advertising.
“We need to listen more carefully to the pain of the world around us,” he said.
He spoke of the modern day Christmas where people feel a heightened sense of loneliness, increased pressures of debt and food poverty.
“This consumer driven version of Christmas is not glad tidings of great joy, except perhaps for retailers,” he continued.
“The Christmas story is good news of great joy to all people and especially for the poor.”
“The bible says that in Jesus, God himself became poor. Jesus is born in a stable, in the midst of animals, like children of poor families.”
“His birth was announced to shepherds, a despised profession. He said to the crowds: ‘Blessed are the poor, yours is the kingdom of God’.”
Bishop Steven closed his sermon by talking of the new carol written by Bob Chilcott for Alan Greaves, the High Green organist murdered last year on his way to play the organ at midnight mass.
He paid tribute to Mr Greaves’ wife Maureen and her ability for forgiveness, along with the courage she has shown, saying it showsed the light of Christ was shining still.
He concluded: “There is medicine in the Christian gospel for every human ill.”
“In Christ we find humility to overcome the pride and selfishness which separate us from each other and the love which overcomes our loneliness.”
In Christ is good news for the poor. A person’s worth is not equal to their wealth. God loves all equally and powerfully. There is a special place in God’s heart for the poor. God’s will for the world is fairness.”