Where would you like to be this Christmas? I expect that most of you, like me, will be quietly at home in Liphook. Where would I like to be? No, not in an exotic tropical location, nor in a snowy winter wonderland. I would like to be in Ripon. Ripon is the cathedral city in North Yorkshire where I was born 74 years ago and baptised in the cathedral there. Ripon Cathedral remains one of my special places and I visit whenever I can. For a few years from 2014  to 2017, it was actually ‘my’ cathedral and I still receive a weekly newsletter and sponsor a chorister there. Magical for me is the Carol Service on Christmas Eve, followed later by Midnight Mass. Also on Boxing Day, an annual pilgrimage is held, from the Cathedral, over the fields to Fountains Abbey, another special place for me.

But does it matter where we are at Christmas? What matters is how we celebrate it and with whom. Two years ago, I spent a wonderful Christmas Day helping to prepare and serve Christmas lunch, followed by carols and a quiz, for people who otherwise would be ‘home alone’. Most of us are usually with our families but spare a thought for all those who will be spending Christmas alone, especially this year.

No, what really matters is that it is a time for kindness, giving, sharing, worshipping and remembering the baby in the manger, Christ, the light of the world, sent to be our Saviour. So let’s all make sure that we keep the CHRIST firmly in Christmas.