Let Christmas leave a mark on your life
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales is asking people to adopt the values of the Nativity story into their everyday lives.
In his Christmas message, the Reverend Dafydd Andrew Jones encourages people to let Christmas leave a mark on their life that lasts well beyond the festive season.
"This is the time of year to enjoy the Christmas story as we watch children being shepherds or wise men, Mary or Joseph, Herod or angels," says Mr Jones.
"It is enchanting, colourful and charming and goes down well with a mince pie and cup of tea.
"But the story challenges us too – we, who have felt the darkness of the Chancellor's statement on the economy and the warning of hard years yet to come.
"We've heard of the sorrow of those losing their jobs, young people despairing of ever finding permament work and of benefits being slashed."
He said the Christmas story was a challenge to anyone "desparing of our country's situation", and to many people around the world experiencing pain, as he made special mention of Afghanistan and Syria.
"It is a challenge to everyone worried about the threats to our planet and civilisation and who says 'we must live for today, just in case'," he said.
"Why? Because Christmas is about light breaking into the darkness, a message about a different way of looking at life and of living. It means standing together, valuing and cherishing individuals – without considering skin colour, religion, sexuality or background."
Reverend Jones said the stable, shepherds and wise men were all about coming together and the "advantaged empathising with the disadvantaged".
Solidarity, sharing, community and communion, hope and life, today, tomorrow and beyond were all the vocabulary of Christmas, he continued.
"Why don't we let the light leave its mark on the way we think of each other, of the world, of life and of God?," he said.
"As a result, perhaps the Chancellor's tune will be different before long, and perhaps the cry from Afghanistand and Syria for peace and justice will leave its mark on our society."
He added: "If Christmas is a promise, it is also a challenge. But fear cannot destroy the love. May we celebrate with joy."