Written by Steph, Trainer

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Hi, my name is Steph, and I am in the Training team at The Cellar Trust – currently training the West Yorkshire Police – so it is rare that I get to see many of you, and so I was very excited to be asked to write a blog for you all at Christmas, and I get to share with you what Christmas means to me.

All our Christmas’s look very different, don’t they? We have different family traditions-we eat varying versions of a Christmas dinner – open presents at different times – decorate our houses differently. Or we don’t celebrate Christmas at all as a religious festival and use it as special time with family.

Of course, amongst it we all also have different experiences of Christmas- for some it’s fun, others it brings hard memories – or it reminds us of those we have lost all too painfully. For others it can be a lonely time and a very hard season to ‘get through’.

For me, Christmas has always been about Light, Peace and Joy and Hope, family and friends.

I do believe in the real reason for Christmas – and the person central to this is Jesus. The Bible says he is the ‘Light of The World’ whoever follows me, will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of Life!

There are some famous verses in the Bible predicting his coming birth For To us a child is born, a son is given, and he shall be called The Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, and The Prince Of Peace.

When we are in a world today which is full of darkness, war, poverty, distress we need some light to shine though that gives us hope for the future. Have you ever noticed – the darker it is, the brighter a light shines?

It also says he is the Prince of Peace, and when there is so much turmoil around, having that Peace to anchor into can make all the difference. For me it helps even with my own mental health. I feel like there is a quiet strength and peace in my spirit, knowing that Jesus always brings hope for the future and that he is with me even when it’s difficult.

My hope and prayer for this season is that I share this light and shine brightly to bring a little ray of light and hope to all those who need it. Whether that is giving to charity, visiting someone, sharing hope, a smile, a gift of appreciation for people’s tireless work all year round. There are so many different initiatives out there where we can join in with, bringing light into someone’s darkness.
We know that we cannot do everything- and feel so helpless in such a hard world that we have no control over, for this we can only pray for peace. It may seem too vast, overwhelming and hopeless. But if we all can just share some hope and light with someone in their darkness- we can make such a difference.

To end with – my favourite Christmas Carol is O Holy Night. Not only is it beautifully written – the words bring hope and light.

‘A thrill of hope – the weary world rejoices’

And then

‘Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is Love and His gospel is Peace; Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease, Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we; Let all within us praise his Holy name!’

Have a listen – think about spreading a little light, hope and joy whether you celebrate Jesus’ birth or not – we can all do that.

I pray that you also know peace, light, and hope amongst the busyness of this season.

Kerrie Roberts Performing her version of “O Holy Night” from the Essential Christmas Collection.