In his Christmas message, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, takes inspiration from carol singers braving the dark near his home.
”Like many days of late, Sunday 13 December was dismal. Cold, wet, grey and dark, it came to an end almost as soon as it started, and only a few lamented its early demise. And yet, what I shall remember about Sunday 13th December is a crowd of people, of all ages and backgrounds, gathered outside Lichfield Cathedral, just in front of our house, cheerfully singing carols in the pouring rain as the darkness fell.
“It was a real celebration, and outdoor events like that are happening every day around now. People are gathering outside churches to sing of the joy which Christmas brings to our sad world, of light shining in our darkness.
“The festive season will feel very different for most of us this year, and many of the familiar ways of marking it will be taken away; but maybe the message at its heart will stand out even more clearly. There is hope for us all in this simple story of a baby’s birth in a draughty stable, and the cold and the darkness around us underline how much that hope means to us. Whatever comforts we miss this Christmas, I pray we may know a deep joy.”