Bishop of Doncaster

Bishop Peter writes at Christmas

As some people know my wife Jane died a few months ago after battling with Young Onset Alzheimer’s for a number of year.  This has been a difficult journey for Jane, the family, close friends and colleagues who lived through the various stages with us.  It has been a particularly difficult few months and like many people I look to Christmas with a mixture of dread and joy.

Its unbelievably tough to lose someone you cannot imagine loving more, and the range of emotions one goes through.  A number of people asked me whether because I was a bishop, a Christian person, did it make it easier to cope with.  The simple answer is no.  I still feel the same raw emotions as everyone else.  I cannot avoid the process of bereavement and the sense of loss after 45 years is excruciatingly painful.  However, I do ask myself how more difficult it would be if I didn’t believe in God and the promise of everlasting life.  In God, even at the times when he seems so far away and I am confused, there is in him hope of something better not just in the eternal life but here and now.  There is joy to be rediscovered however distant that feels.

I am not unique, of course.  There will be many experiencing similar things either through bereavement or other difficulties this Christmas.  But for them and everyone there is hope of something brighter.  The problems may not go away and we may even feel angry with God, but in Jesus we find a new way of coping and dealing with them.  We are drawn int a loving relationship.

God knows what it is like to lose someone you cannot imagine loving more.  He loved his Son Jesus Christ whom he sent into the world to show us a different way even to the point of dying on the cross.  And God loves every one of us more than we can imagine.  That’ why he wants to draw us to himself in love.  Jesus Christ is the epitome and the living example of a love that cannot imagine loving more.  He wants us this Christmas and always to turn to him and find that love and peace of God which passes all understanding and which we probably cannot imagine until we have experienced it.  How do we feel without God in our lives and which we are celebrating now is a good question to pose ourselves.


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