Archbishop John Wilson’s Christmas message

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With Christmas quickly approaching, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark has provided his annual Christmas message to his diocese, calling for peace in the many conflicts blighting the world, and a greater emphasis on personal prayer.

Archbishop John Wilson Christmas Message 2023

Dear friends,

The past year has, once again, been tragically filled with conflict and war. With innocent lives lost in Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, the Holy Land and other places where bloodshed has blighted peace.

In the face of war, we pray for peace and urge the international community to find lasting solutions. We remember that the Gospel is the Good News of Peace. It comes to us, through Mary’s ‘yes’ to God’s will. It comes to us through the Lord Jesus, the new-born Prince of Peace.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must all be missionaries of peace, proclaiming the Good News of God’s love for every person and honouring the dignity of every person.

Christ comes to us as our Saviour. Our Saviour from sin and death. Christ comes to us with the gift of peace for our hearts, our families, communities and our nations.

We look to the coming New Year to be one of peace and we pray, give, and receive this precious gift.

In preparation for the Jubilee year of 2025, our Holy Father Pope Francis has designated next year, 2024, as the year of prayer.

The call to prayer is one we all can and should embrace. Often – too often – we think of God as distant or indifferent. We can put up barriers between ourselves and between God, shutting him out, not trusting his love, and not seeking his mercy.

Instead, let’s use prayer to come close to God. Let’s turn again to his Son, the Lord Jesus, with our hopes, our dreams, our worries and our thanks. From now, looking forward to next year, let’s give prayer a go.

Because prayer is strength for the weak. It will never make things worse, and can only make them better.

The biggest challenge to praying is just beginning. You can only learn to ride a bicycle by trying it out. It’s the same with prayer. Even just praying the Our Father when we wake up and as we go to sleep at night will make a difference to our lives.

If we ask, we will be heard. If we seek, we will be found. If we knock, the Lord Jesus will open the door. Prayer builds peace.

So next year, pray, pray to welcome Christ into your heart. Go on, give prayer a go.  

I pray that everyone who hears this message will have a blessed and wonderful Christmas, and I ask God to bless you, and all those you love in the year to come.

May the Lord’s peace be upon us, that His Kingdom may come.