It's jolly cold as I write this but I’m not sure that we’ll be having a white Christmas!

Many people across Dudley are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, feeling the cold, but afraid to turn up the heating. It will be a bleak mid - winter for many this Christmas, even as our foodbanks, warms spaces and other fabulous volunteer groups do all they can to bring food, and warmth and friendship to all who are in need. Many charities are facing their own cost of giving crisis as needs go up but giving goes down. Everyone is feeling the squeeze.

At Christmas, in churches up and down the land, we celebrate God’s gift of himself to us in Jesus. I hope you’ll find your way to a church service this year. Born in Bethlehem. Known as Emmanuel, or God with us. The cost of giving for Jesus was great. Born in a stable, far from his home, finally rejected, misunderstood and put to death on a cross. The cost of giving for Jesus was total.

This is who we celebrate at Christmas. Not a far-off God, but God with us, God in our midst. In church or at work, at school or wherever we are. Jesus is real, and Jesus brings God’s love. Costing nothing, but worth everything. The greatest gift of all.

Snow or no snow…I wish you a Happy Christmas!

From Rt Rev Martin Gorick - Bishop of Dudley