*** DEBUG END ***

A modest Christmas can be a merry one, too

12 December 2014


From Ruth Grayson

Sir, - It is good to know that so many parishes now offer debt advice (News, 5 December). It would be even better if parishes could do more to prevent personal debt among their parishioners in the first place.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has just announced that we do not need large bank balances in order to enjoy ourselves, or demonstrate generosity at Christmas. This message needs to be preached loud and clear from all pulpits.

Christmas is the single greatest cause of personal debt in the UK, after rent or mortgage arrears. And personal debt, in turn, is often the cause of family feuds, relationship breakdown, and even suicide. None of this should be atributable to a Christian festival that purports to be about "bringing good news to the poor".

There are many other ways of being generous at Christmas: giving time, giving skills, being neighbourly, and, above all, prioritising charitable giving (which is how St John the Baptist exhorted his followers to prepare for the coming of Christ in Luke 3.11).

If a larger proportion of that £26 billion estimated to be spent this year on our festivities in this country were allocated to charities working with the poor, homeless, and destitute in this country and overseas, that would indeed be good news for the whole world. It might also mean more enjoyment and less stress at home. It is up to us all.

25 Whitfield Road
Sheffield S10 4GJ

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

8 September 2022
Church Times Cricket Cup: North v. South
Join us to watch the match at the Walker Cricket Ground, in Southgate, north London.

26 September 2022
What am I living for? God
Sam Wells and Lucy Winkett begin the St Martin-in-the-Fields autumn lecture series in partnership with Church Times.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)