The Bishop of Sheffield has spoken about the need for great humility at Christmas time - and throughout the year - in his annual Christmas Eve sermon.
The Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft spoke at Sheffield Cathedral about how Jesus came to us in great humility and that this quality runs throughout the Christmas story.
He said: “For example, Mary was a simple country girl that trusted the angel’s message.”
The Bishop commented that pride, self-importance and vanity can make it difficult to see what Christmas is all about, and that it is this that contributes to Christmas losing its meaning for many people.
He told the gathered congregation of how God comes to be with us in the sufferings of life “to share our human nature” and to “save us and the whole world from the effects of human pride and selfishness which we see within us and around us”.
He said: “As we look across the world and our nation and our city, this Christmas message has never been more needed. The world is wracked still by war. 100 years ago our forebears met in this Cathedral and reflected on a world at war. We see still, in Isaiah’s words, “the boots of tramping warriors and the garments rolled in blood” across the Middle East, in Sudan, in Ukraine. We see dreadful atrocities against innocent children, most recently in Pakistan. Fresh conflicts threaten still the peace of the earth.”
The Bishop concluded: “And we see, if we are honest, the ways in which pride and selfishness and darkness deepen still their hold upon our own lives and families: the ways in which hardness of heart and division creeps in with terrible consequence; the ways in which we yield to greed and temptation; the ways in which our lives miss the marks we set for them and fall short of everything they could be.
“Christmas is for those who will stoop to enter and kneel and wonder. A person whose eyes are open to the needs of the world and open to his or her own frailties and failings.”