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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Be Like The Shepherds

York Minster

Tuesday 25th December 2012

The Archbishop writes a special Christmas message for the Yorkshire Times.

They call Yorkshire “God’s Own County” and when you take a look out of the window, you can see why. Incredible views as far as the eye can see.


When I read the Christmas story, I am always struck by the presence of the shepherds. Before the Magi gather with their expensive gifts, it is the shepherds – local farmers – who are invited to come and meet the new-born king. They are ordinary people like you and me, and that’s the first invitation God sends out.


I am sure the rolling hills, moors and dales of Yorkshire have little in common with those found outside Bethlehem, but I am often reminded when I see the fantastic work being done by our agricultural community here, that God’s call is for everyone. He cares about each one of us, and he wants us to be part of the celebration.


We could learn much from those shepherds in the Christmas story. They heard. They followed. They saw. And then they went in haste to tell the good news to others.


I pray that this Christmas we will take time to hear the story anew – and be full of the spine-tingling joy that Christmas can bring.

We should never forget that Christmas is a party to which everyone is invited.


I hope you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas.



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