“For some, Christmas is an important religious festival.
“People will find their way to services in churches – from Christingles to Midnight Mass – to sing carols. In my part of Sheffield we also celebrate by singing carols in pubs. We sing ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’ to the tune of ‘On Ilkley moor baht ‘at’. But also local carols with local words and tunes. My favourite is ‘Chiming Christmas Bells’. One of the wonderful things about South Yorkshire are these local carols.
“But Christmas has also become a much wider celebration. I have non –religious friends who send me Christmas cards. I have Muslim, Sikh and Hindu friends who do the same. This is because the attitudes and values that Christmas encourages are key for creating good relationships between all people in every community. If we all lived in these ways, our life would be happier and the world would be a better place.
“These are the attitudes and values that the coming of the Christ child evokes in us – love, joy, gentleness, peace, generosity.
“But – if I can put my Police and Crime Commissioner hat on – as we celebrate this year perhaps we can also remember for a moment those who will be working over Christmas to keep us safe – the men and women of the emergency services.” especially those in the Ambulance, Fire and Rescue and Police services.
“It would be a wonderful Christmas if none of them were called out over the festive season. If, for instance, none of them had to attend a road traffic collision because someone decided to have a drink and get into a car and drive home, and none of us stopped them.
“So, let’s make it a very happy Christmas for ourselves, our families and friends – and for those who will be working as well.”
Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner