The Bishop of Dudley, Rt Revd Graham Usher, has released his annual Christmas message.
In the message, which was released this morning, the bishop touched on some of the darker moments of 2017, but painted a picture of hope that could be found in faith.
The bishop’s Christmas message, in full, reads: “Much of life seems to hover between darkness and light.
“Too much of 2017 seems to have been about darkness: uncertainty on the world stage and dangerous threats in tweets; the continued plight of refugees and minorities; the bombing of a pop concert; knife attacks on our streets; the horrifying fire at Grenfell Tower; and the hardships that have resulted from the rollout of Universal Credit.
“Christmas reminds us that God’s way is one of light: human lives that are flourishing; seeking the common good for our communities; bringing healing out of brokenness, hope out of despair, peace out of hatred, and joy out of sorrow.
“So see again around the back of the inn and peer in at that stable carved out of honeycomb rock where the faces of new parents are picked out in the light of an oil lamp.
“See again the dark Judean hillside, the rocky terraces, and the shepherds being woken from their slumber by the light that shone all around them.
“And see again the magi travelling from afar, their faith resting on the light of a new star that shines in the night sky and guides their path.
“All of these characters’ eyes are soon set on the infant Jesus. They see how he radiates and reflects the unimaginable beauty and light of the source from which he comes. This child brings light in the darkness not to some lives but to all lives. When we open our hearts to him, so something of that light also radiates from us. In turn, we bring light in places and situations of darkness.
“My prayer is that the light of Jesus will fill your Christmas this year.”