The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to say in his Christmas Day sermon that children are forced to grow up “too fast,” the British Broadcasting Corporation reports.
“As we learn how to be gratefully dependent, we learn how to attend to and respond to the dependence of others,” Dr. Rowan Williams is expected to say.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales had a similar message in his Christmas homily in Westminster Cathedral:
Happiness, we are told, comes from the way we are recognised by society, yet we know in our hearts that this is not so. “Our happiness lives much closer to home, it lives in our steady relationships,” the BBC quoted Archbishop Nichols as saying.
In Bethlehem, thousands of pilgrims also gathered to celebrate Christmas Mass, the BBC reported.
Latin Patriarch Foud Twal, the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, said the region’s aspiration of peace remained out of reach.
“The wish that we most want, we most hope for, is not coming,” he said after passing into Bethlehem in a traditional holiday procession from nearby Jerusalem.
“We don’t want walls, we don’t want separation fences. [This land’s] inhabitants are brothers who see each other as enemies. This land will deserve to be called holy when she breathes freedom, justice, love, reconciliation, peace and security.”
Finally, a woman who jumped the barricades at the papal mass in Rome was arrested, and Pope Benedict XVI continued with the Christmas Mass a few hours earlier than usual in order to avoid being tired.
In the U.S., several Christmas services have been cancelled due to weather, as a winter blizzard that spans two-thirds of the country makes travel by road and air dangerous from Texas to Minnesota. About 14 deaths have been blamed on the blizzard, mostly in Kansas and Nebraska.