The Prime Minister has thanked Christians and churches for a campaign bringing hope to communities across the country.
Hundreds of Shine Your Light events are being held across the UK and Ireland and in a message, Rishi Sunak said he's delighted about the campaign "brightening up the country like a Christmas tree, bringing the spirit of Christmas to our communities."
Over 54,000 Christians from more than 440 churches are taking part in the events in high streets, villages, shopping centres and town halls among other public places.
Registrations have come in for hundreds of flash-mob style carol events, open air Christingle services and nativity events from the small to the large including some in Castles, country parks and housing estates.
The events are solely focused on enabling the true message of Christmas to be heard by those outside the church.
Dr Jonathan Oloyede, Convenor of the National Day of Prayer and Worship which is spearheading the campaign, told Premier:
“Shine Your Light is a collaborative effort of all the churches across the UK and Ireland, as church denominations and organisations have come together to step out of their buildings into the public square taking the wonderful carol services we hold in our buildings out into the public platforms, like shopping malls, train stations, pubs, everywhere. It’s amazing.
“We want to bring Christ back into Christmas and for people outside of the church to actually understand the true meaning of the festival. Why do we have all these lights? Well, he's the light of the world, the church is the light of the world and let’s take our light out into those places. Christmas is for those that are not in our church buildings. That's why Christ came. And so we want to let them know the wonderful news of his arrival, and his message of joy to the whole of mankind. That’s what Shine Your Light is all about and we’re so happy that even politicians and major public figures are getting behind is to endorse this as well.
“It’s also given the church confidence to say, ‘we have the story, the message, it's going to light up people's lives, and the fact that God has come into this world not just to forgive our sins, but to give us hope, to affirm who we are, uniting communities around the love and is in Christ Jesus.’
“If Christians can act that out in their communities, I believe we will bring healing, blessing, light and hope to our communities everywhere.”
In his message, Rishi Sunak said:
“I was delighted to read about your campaign to share the message of hope and joy across the country this Christmas.
“I anticipate that many churches across our nations will participate in brightening up the country like a Christmas tree, bringing the spirit of Christmas to our communities.
“I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone involved in Shine Your Light. I hope your campaign is a great success.”
To find out about local Shine Your Light events in your community, please visit: www.shineyourlight.org.uk