This is a page for church leaders preparing a message for Advent and Christmas.
It follows the theme of the 1914 Christmas Truce that we know some leaders are taking for their Christmas message. We hope many more church leaders will follow this theme and that messages get passed on in the press, in websites and magazines, and through social media.
We are re remembering 100 years since the outbreak of WWI and the truce which broke out in the trenches.
We also remember 25 years since the Berlin Wall was taken down.
This provides an opportunity to speak about the arrival of the baby we call the 'Prince of Peace' and the fruit of the Holy Spirit being 'Love, Joy and Peace'.
As Peter Graystone from www.christianity.org.uk says: 'The 1914 Christmas truce was one silent night. Good men and women all over the world long for a permanent end to all that alienates humans from each other. The Christian faith is that the alienation between God and humankind is over. It happened because God stepped in to end it. That's what was happening when Jesus came to earth, and that's why we wait for Christmas with such excitement. When humans are reconciled to God, it gives us hope that there can be reconciliation the world over. Christmas gives us hope of endless silent nights.'
As Clare Ward from the Catholic Bishops Conference for England and Wales says: 'This links in well with WWI and the message of living truce (peace) in our hearts and minds, BUT importantly Christianity goes beyond truce. It’s deeper than than and this would need to be made clear. It’s more than just a ceasefire of hostilities. It stems from Christ’s love and teaching and is transforming from the inside out'.
This is a page supporting an initiative of the Churches Group for Evangelisation where the Presidents of Churches Together in England - alongside other church leaders - say something about the gospel message to the public audience.
The purpose is to 'Speak to the Seasons' with some aspect of the gospel message that relates to common experience, reflecting on the person and teaching of Jesus, pointing people interested to the website www.christianity.org.uk.
For those writing Christmas messages, please end any message with the invitation: 'To find out more about what Christians believe about Christmas, visit www.christianity.org.uk'.
At a time when we remember those who fought for peace we pray for peace. We are aware of the lack of peace - both in the world and in in our families and neighbourhoods. Please encourage people to reflect in Advent / before Christmas as to who they might make peace with. It may be a member of the family, a neighbour, or an attitude to people who are different, eg the homeless or assylum seakers (can link this back to Jesus and the first Christmas story).
Messages can be linked with www.twitter.com #christmas
This may get picked up by #christmastruce
We can also use #speakingtotheseasons
We will collate some of the messages prepared by church leaders on this page.
If you have a Christmas message on this theme too, do email for consideration.
CTE News article re Churches Together and Silent Night Carols
Hope re Silent Night Carol Services remembering the Christmas Truce
Christmas Starts with Christ - Church Ads campaign on radio, in print and at bus stops
Imperial War Museum podcast on the Christmas Truce
Northumbria and Newcastle Universities Peace Committee / Chaplains website re Christmas Truce
Coventry Cathedral Litany for Reconciliation
Andrew White's book Father Forgive. Monarch 2013.
Reconciliation after Violent Conflict - a UN Handboook PDF
Readings: Isaiah 9: 1-7, Psalm 46 and Matthew 5:1-16
Photograph copyright: Jim Currin and available for anyone to use re 'Speaking to the Seasons' / Christmas 2014.