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Archbishop urges people to put rivalries and hatred aside

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his Christmas Day sermon to urge the British public to put rivalries and hatred aside.In comments that appear to echo the Queen’s Christmas Day message encouraging people to overcome “deeply held differences,” the Most Reverend Justin Welby said that fears surrounding “gathering shadows” or “great events” could be allayed by the teachings of Jesus Christ.Addressing a congregation at Canterbury Cathedral, he said: “God’s language of love is exclusive. It requires us to forget other languages of hatred, tribalism, rivalry, political advantage and of materialism, pride, greed, and so many more.”The Archbishop added that the Christian faith also offered support when “suffering overwhelms and all answers seem vain”.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––While he did not mention Brexit in his sermon, the archbishop has caused controversy in the past by saying a second referendum was “possible, but not preferable” and he feared a no-deal could create a “significant danger more people will be pushed into poverty”.He told worshippers: “God’s language of love is not mushy sentiment. In the Bible we see the richness of its vocabulary.”It encompasses every aspect of living, and every aspect of knowing God. Jesus the adult spoke it perfectly. The sermon came after thoughts of peace, joy and sadness were raised in the Christmas messages of the Bishops of the Church of England.The bishops spoke of modern-day challenges from modern slavery to political divisions and urged people to remember those who struggle with Christmas as a lonely or difficult time of year.Graham Usher, the Bishop of Dudley, recalled a recent visit to Bethlehem but also thought of divisions that are closer to home.He said: “Our current political debates also put up barriers between those who voted in different ways. Our country needs, more than ever, to seek grace and generosity in our political conversation so that there are not winners and losers, just the flourishing of all.” Meanwhile, the Archbishop of York retold the Nativity through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy who imagines Dr Who intervening to use her sonic screwdriver tlo turn back time and then a choir playing “the biggest gig on earth”.When the child tells his parents the story they say he may have got it wrong, to which the boy replies: “If I told you how it really happened, you would not believe it.”He told York Minster: “Even in uncertain times – like Brexit – the hope is still there, the belief that into darkness God can still shine a light.” “The baby in the manger lives it flawlessly before he can speak a word, because by his mere existence he is the word of God to us. It can be spoken by the generous and wealthy and powerful.”Describing how Christmas had numerous “sounds,” he said the traditional family time is marked by people “arguing, or joking, or sitting quietly enjoying being together”.He added that the “language of love” is spoken by God “for the poor and suffering and oppressed in every place at every time”.Explaining how the world does not stop at Christmas, he continued “to think so is a dangerous illusion because God came into the reality of the world, to change it, not to give us an escape from it.” Archbishop of York delivers his Christmas Day speech at York MinisterCredit:Charlotte Graham Archbishop of York delivers his Christmas Day speech at York Minister read more