The Archbishop of Canterbury will pay tribute to people suffering “immense anxiety and hardship” amid the cost of living crisis in his Christmas sermon, in which he will also pay tribute to the late Queen.
Justin Welby is also expected to reference the “desperate struggles of hospital wards” as well as those people who make perilous journeys in small boats, when he delivers his annual message on Christmas Day.
Mr Welby is set to tell those listening that despite war and conflicts around the world and financial pressures on people closer to home, there is “unconquerable hope” in the birth of Jesus Christ.
In his first Christmas message since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Mr Welby will praise the example set by the late monarch, who he will say “in obedience to the Christ-child lived a life of service and put her interest after those of the people she served”.
The Archbishop, who visited a church-run foodbank in Canterbury in recent days, is expected to express his concern for those struggling in a cost of living crisis which he says is causing “immense anxiety and hardship” for many people across the UK.
He is expected to say: “In Jesus Christ, God reaches out to each one of us here; to those who like his family have no resources, into the dark cells of prisons, into the desperate struggles of hospital wards, to those on small boats, to the despairing, and even to the condemned and the wicked, and says: ‘Take me into your heart and life, let me set you free from the darkness that surrounds and fills you, for I too have been there.
“For in me there is forgiveness, hope, life and joy, whoever and wherever you are, whatever you have done’.”
Referring to suffering of millions facing famine amid fighting in South Sudan and the ongoing war in Ukraine, Mr Welby is expected to appeal to the leaders of both countries to bring an end to violence and in turn “bring hope to millions”.
He is expected to say: “Even if the world forgets injustice, pays no attention to a war, God is present through Jesus in the world… In this child God shows God does not give up on us. When the darkness feels like it might overcome, we are tempted to look inwards. But God does not give up on anyone, ever.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas sermon will be preached during the 11am Christmas Day Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral.
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