The Bishop of St Asaph is encouraging a spirit of generosity in his 2014 Christmas message.
In it, Bishop Gregory Cameron (pictured left) explains that at Christmas we remember that Jesus was given freely by God with no strings attached and asks if we are willing to give as generously?
You can read the whole message below:
"There has been rivalry on the telly for the most touching Christmas advert. A tale of two penguins competes with an impossibly long Christmas table from a budget supermarket and another chain store’s marauding fairies.
"These adverts hint at the Christmas that everybody wants: a jolly family time where everyone gets the present they desire (£199.99 at all the best stores), plenty of food on the table, burning logs on the fire, and all’s well with the world. Could anyone dare criticise these good feel adverts without being accused of becoming Scrooge?
"Well, I could point out that this won’t be the Christmas experience of many in the world, even in our own country, this year. And we should remember that these adverts have only one goal: the stores want to make as much money as they can out of us. The real point behind Dickens' famous story, A Christmas Carol, is not that there should be no brakes on the indulgence, but that there should be no brakes on the generosity, because He who had all things gave them up for our sakes.
"If I was to single out one aspect of a Christian celebration of Christmas that might be distinctive, then it would be “generosity”. The Christian story behind Christmas is that God gives his love to us in Jesus without strings attached. Therefore, anyone who wants to celebrate a real Christmas should copy God’s generosity. I’m sure that we’ll all be generous to family and friends; but what about generosity to the unlovely?
"Jesus once said: `If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?' (Matthew 5.46)
"This Christmas, perhaps in remembering that Jesus was given freely by God, we can also think: what gifts could we give this year, generous and freely given, to those who are in need, and without any strings attached? For to give without any hope of getting back is the sort of love that reflects the true spirit of Christmas."
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