2021 festive season: A message from the UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser

26 November 2021

The UCL Interfaith Forum and Chaplain would like to wish everyone a very happy and safe festive season whether you are staying in the UK or travelling abroad. We hope that after last year, this year will be particularly special.

The top of a Christmas tree with star ornament

The festive season seems to begin earlier and earlier each year and we are particularly reminded of this as the Christmas lights are switched on in Oxford Street to brighten our shopping experiences and nights out during the long winter evenings.

The idea of light coming into the darkness is a spiritual theme which has significance in many faiths including Judaism, where candles are lit during the celebrations of Hanukkah, and Hinduism during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. For some faiths God cannot be referenced in terms of the physical world but God can be understood through reference to light.

In the in the Victoria and Albert museum, a decorative mosque lamp has been preserved from the period of Sultan Hasan, from about 1360 with the inscription  “God is the light of the heavens and earth”; words from the Quran. When the lamp was lit the effect would be similar to light coming through stained glass.

For Christians, Jesus describes himself in John’s gospel as “the light of the world” and expected his followers to continue being his light in a dark world as they spread his love.

During the Advent and Christmas season we look forward to celebrating the coming of Jesus into the world but also we remember that he is always available to come into the dark places of our own lives to bring us his light and life.

If you are wanting to celebrate Christmas with other Christians, there are many churches in Bloomsbury and the surrounding area where you will find beautiful buildings, a warm welcome and worship styles to suit all tastes. Christmas is a great time to visit somewhere new.

Many places of worship are offering additional services this year to avoid overcrowding at popular times.

Here is a list of just some of the Churches offering a variety of Christmas services and support. Please check the individual website for what is available over the Christmas period as this may change.

Once again, however you celebrate have a very happy festive season, a peaceful Christmas and a hopeful new year.

Liz Baughen, UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser