December 2017


Bishop's Letter in Word (.doc) format, download here - BishopDec2017

Bishop's Letter in .PDF format, download here - BishopDec2017


Dear Friends,

Earlier in the autumn, I was enjoying my favourite day-off activity, which is to browse in charity and second-hand shops. I came across a slim volume of poetry by a man called Shane Jagger. I would like to share one of his poems with you: 

At Christmas

we give each other

small gifts


So why at this time?



reminds us

a child was born

who would grow up

amongst ordinary people

and by his coming into this world

would bring an extraordinary great gift

of news



could be


without intermediary


all men

simply by the means of love


This is why we gift each other at Christmas

if we remember


I was – and am – struck by the authenticity of this man’s response to the birth of Jesus. It might be quite possible to debate whether he has got the theology of the incarnation perfectly ‘spot on’. But what I am hearing is a response from the heart that is genuine, and that, to me, gives voice to an instinctive ‘experience’ of Christmas. I do not know his faith background. I do know that he was born in 1960, worked in the fish markets in Hull, and from the late 1970s until his death earlier this year, lived in the Scottish borders.

Reading Shane’s poem, got me to thinking: how would I describe the meaning of Christmas in just a few words? And I wondered whether I should set myself the task of trying to write a description, or to draw a picture, or to take a photo (I’m afraid, writing music is beyond me!) as I make my own preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus this year? And if I set myself this task, would you perhaps like to join me?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, across the Diocese of Lincoln, in our own ways, in our own voices, we were able to express something to ourselves – and to others – of what Christmas really means to us?

For the Feast is a feast for all people; the celebration of the giving of God’s very self to the world in love; a giving that invites a response from us all.

May you know God’s blessing and love this Christmas, in whatever circumstances you celebrate it!

Bishop Nicholas

P.S. And if you want to send me your words or your picture, or whatever else your response to the birth of Jesus might be, please do!


We are most grateful to Beshara Publications ( for their kind permission to reprint the work of Shane Jagger here.