As Christmas was celebrated across the Diocese of Guildford, The Rt Revd Christopher Hill, preaching at Guildford Cathedral, told the congregation that the Christmas story was 'no fairy-tale.
Bishop Christopher used examples of recent atrocities in Syria, Iraq and Egypt to draw parallels between today's world, and the troubled, well-documented times, into which Jesus was born.
"The Christian story is not just wishful thinking. It is about God sharing the messiness, the incompleteness, the imperfectness of human life and our fractured human relationships.
"Our real, dark world but a message of true hope not illusion because God comes to us as we are in the brokenness of our world, and through his emphatic sufferings, our world can be redeemed.
Read the full transcript of Bishop Christopher's sermon (pdf)
God in a trough!
Meanwhile, The Rt Revd Ian Brackley, Bishop of Dorking, told the congregation at St Martin's, Dorking that Christ's birth was the answer to the deepest human need - to be loved.
"One could begin to understand the message of the gospel of Christâ€™s birth as the answer to the question that we all ask in our lives â€“ Do you love me?" he said.
"Goodness knows, we recognise clearly enough our need to be loved. We all search for affirmation, for a sense of being valued and given worth and dignity."
Bishop Ian described humanity's perception of God as being 'too vertical,' rejecting the idea of God 'coming down from on high.'
"In our desperate human need we lift up our hands and yet we are powerless to pull God down to us. The truth is God reaches out in a babyâ€™s hand to pull down human compassion upon his cradle."
"To help us realize that deep within the mystery and meaning of this universe we each have a purpose and are uniquely loved and valued is why God was born for us and is born in us."
Read the full transcript of Bishop Ian's sermon (pdf)
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