Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Bishop of Worcester's Christmas message 2010

Thr Rt Rev Dr John Inge
The Rt Rev Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

One of the catchwords of our Coalition Government is 'fairness'.

We shouldn't knock them for that since we would all surely agree that 'fairness' is a good thing: who would want a society built on unfairness?

From a very early age, one of the things that children care most about is whether or not things are fair: our six-year-old has very strong opinions about the matter - and so she should.

The trouble is that fairness can mean very different things to different people.

For example, some people will think it 'fair' for them to be able to keep what they have been paid, their 'hard won earnings', without much tax being deducted.

Others will argue that it is 'fair' that money should be taken from those who have more and given to those who have less.

These two approaches to 'fairness' characterise the argument between the political left and right.

In the light of Christmas, I would like to propose something more radical and demanding than 'fairness'.

Christmas is not about fairness: it is about care and compassion and love.

It is about God showing his immense care and compassion and love for us in the person of Jesus, and inviting us to show that same care and compassion and love for one another.

These are values that characterise the spirit of Christmas - they are God's values.

I think that Christmas retains its appeal in our supposedly 'post Christian' society not, as some suggest, because it has become commercialised.

I think we love it because we recognise that care and compassion and love characterise all that is best about us as individuals and as a society.

I hope and pray that we might take this spirit of Christmas into the New Year.

The Government wants us to build the 'Big Society' and that is a noble aim.

But it will not be built on fairness. - it will be built on big hearts: hearts that are generous in showing care and compassion and love.

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