Christmas is about change, not escaping reality - Sentamu
The Archbishop of York has said Christmas should not be about escaping reality but about being ready to change.
In a special message for the season published in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times, Dr John Sentamu encouraged people to move beyond spending their time and money on themselves, to thinking more about what they could do for others.
"I love everything about Christmas, especially the build up: the waiting, anticipating, and patiently hoping for something wonderful to happen," he writes.
"But, Christmas is not just about escaping the harsh realities of life for a day or two by watching Dr Who or The Great British Bake Off, however much we may like doing this.
"For me getting ready for Christmas is about getting ready to listen, being ready to change, taking on something life-giving and life-transforming."
He recalls the legacy of civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King, who died 50 years ago this year, as he encouraged people to take the first step to change.
"To be a great leader such as King, you have to love, you have to set an example, you have to take action, and you have to dream – not about yourself, but about a future shaped by love," he said.
"You have to have that vision and belief that you can make it better. But we remember too, that it was also the courage and resolve of a single woman that got the ball rolling – Rosa Parks.
"I often remind people that having an active faith is about being bold enough to take the first step, being a trailblazer and letting others follow in your path. It takes courage, it takes a yearning to make a difference, and it requires real love to bring lasting transformation."
He pointed to Christ as the greatest example of love in action that the world has ever seen.
"The gift, God's love that took on our very nature, is Jesus Christ. He lived among us, and demonstrated - in a way we could understand – God's total love for us. When we know we are loved, we find it easier to love other people," he said.
"So this Christmas, don't wait to try something new and don't be fearful. I follow Jesus, and His teachings help me to live life in all its fullness. Whether you have faith, or none at all, this message should be something we all aspire to do."