Bishop Rt Rev. Julian Henderson's 2017 Christmas message: Paddington Bear has a message for Christmas

Christmas is a season for the giving and receiving of gifts and, particularly, it is a time to remember God’s great gift of His Son Jesus into the world, more than 2,000 years ago.

Nowadays it feels as though people want to give greater prominence to Santa Claus in preference to the person who really is the story, the real story – the story of Jesus Christ.

The current December issue of the respected National Geographic magazine has a front cover announcing ‘The Real Jesus’.

In a feature stretching to 30 or so pages inside, it outlines evidence from archaeology and the investigations of renowned professors and experts to explain how archaeological confirmation is backing up the accounts in the New Testament in the Bible.

As we celebrate the gift of The Real Jesus, it is important to remember that, while we celebrate, 2,000 years ago only a handful of people supported Him.

Most people deserted Him and some even wanted to get rid of Him.

Some of you may have seen Paddington 2, the film. It’s all about Paddington’s attempts to retrieve a book that contained the clues to some wonderful treasure.

I want to say this year for my Christmas message that the Bible is a book also worth reading because it too contains the clues to finding wonderful treasure.

But that treasure is not the silver and gold Paddington’s book leads to. It is much more valuable than that.

The treasure to be found in the Bible is the person of Jesus Christ.

So, as I wish you and your family a very happy and a very joyful Christmas, maybe you will find something of what the Saviour Jesus Christ could bring to your life this Christmas time and beyond.

And if you want to explore more about Jesus, please join us at one of our parish churches across Lancashire for a carol service or on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

If you aren’t sure where to go, finding the nearest church that suits you and your family couldn’t be easier.

Just log on to the recently revamped www.achurchnearyou.com website, which features parishes from across our Diocese here in Lancashire or, if you are away from home visiting friends and family, parishes from across the country.