THE Bishop of Dudley has urged people to spare a thought for those seeking refuge in his 2021 Christmas message.

"Migrants and refugees are often in the news at the moment. Men, women and children in search of a safe place to live. In search of a better life or fleeing war or conflict.

"Imagine that being you. You and those closest to you with nowhere to go, nowhere to lay your head, not knowing where your next meal will come from. Imagine doing that if you were expecting a baby. You might long for the birth, but somehow dread it too – how will you manage?

"Mary was expecting a baby when she had to leave her home in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem. No sooner had Jesus been born than she was on the move again, this time to Egypt to escape the murderous persecution of King Herod.

"As we remember the birth of Jesus with carols and lights, with feasting and laughter, let’s spare a thought, or maybe more, for all those on the move today. On the run, desperate to find somewhere safe, somewhere to lay their head, somewhere perhaps for their new born child to grow and to thrive. Spare a thought for the holy family, wherever they may be this Christmas time."

Bishop Martin Gorick