Calling all children…

Bishop Steven needs your help!

This is a message for all the children in the Diocese of Oxford: in our churches and in our schools. There are more than 60,000 of you – that’s a lot – and all of you are very special. I want to ask for your help.

Thank you for all the good things you have done and said in this very hard year – for every smile and kind word and good deed. Thank you for all your prayers. God has heard every single one.

This is going to be a very different Christmas.

There are some things we just can’t do because of the coronavirus. We can’t see all of our family and friends. We can’t get together for big parties. We can’t sing carols inside our church buildings.

But there is a lot we can still do to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We can sing outside. Many of us can gather in our churches safely. We can read the Christmas story in our homes around the fire or in your favourite cosy place. We can be together online with our church family and with our friends. We can love and care for others in practical ways. And we can spread comfort and joy.

The Christmas story is so beautiful because sadness and joy go together – and the joy is brighter than the sadness. It was hard for Mary and Joseph to make the journey to Bethlehem and stay in a stable. It was hard for Mary to give birth to the baby Jesus.

But there is such joy in the story as well: in the songs of the angels, in the gifts of the wise men, in the excitement of the shepherds and most of all in the birth of baby Jesus, who comes to save us from the darkness because Jesus is the light for the whole world.

Lots of people are very sad this Christmas time. But even when we are sad, it’s important to remember good times and those we love. It’s good to laugh and smile and look forward to better times ahead.

I need your help!

I’ve got a serious problem. I’ve run out of jokes this Christmas and so I need your help. I want you to send me, if you can, your funniest, side-splitting joke which makes people smile. You can send it to me in an email or on a video. I’ll send them out to the vicars and headteachers all across the diocese so they can pass them on to other people and help people smile and remember the joy and the good times in this Christmas season. I hope we can use some of them in our Christmas services. If there are lots, I will make them into a book and send a copy to your church and school.

Have a really happy and wonderful Christmas. Even if we are sad, we can be happy as well – and smile. God bless you and God bless your family this Christmas time.

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By making a submission, you agree to the Diocese of Oxford using and sharing your joke online, on social media and in print. Please obtain the permission of everyone involved in a video or audio clip before sending it to us, including consent from a parent or guardian for any children under 16. To ensure everyone’s safety, we will never share the full names or other identifying details of children or young people.