In his Christmas sermon, Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner urged his congregation to live out the realities of carols and to be ‘amazed by God who made the light and everything it lets you see’.
Speaking at Chichester Cathedral, Dr Warner said: “For many of us the familiarity of traditional tunes to our carols produces a response that is laden with the memory of Christmases, places and loved ones that have shaped our lives.
“These tunes also tug at us to attend to the words that they convey.
“And in these words, we find some themes that challenge the assumptions of our own time and culture.”
He explained how Christmas was a celebration of creation, as God took on human form in Jesus, and of social inclusion, as all were welcome to come to him.
He also said the hymns told of how being human was an ‘amazing and spectacular experience’.
He said: “The celebration of Christmas is a peaceful and joyful subversion of anything that exploits human beings and limits the dignity and mystery of our identity.
“Before you leave the cathedral today, I encourage you to go to pray at the crib: seek to see yourself there, and so to see every other human person, as Godlike, and unique, transfigured by the Christ child.”