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Bishop of Leeds defines real meaning of Christmas

by Hannah Tooley

Rt Revd Nick Baines says that small gestures like this can even bring the family together.

The Bishop even compared the shared moment of relatives watching television with Biblical accounts of the Shepard's traveling to see the baby Jesus. 

He argued that the latest dramas in soaps can do as much as encourage people to attend a carol service.

Writing in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times, he insisted that in an age when people live glued to mobile phones and tablet devices, the simple act of people sitting together watching a show can restore relationships.

"It isn't all that long along that the prophets of media doom were confidently predicting the demise of television as a medium for common conversation - that is, for example, a family sitting together and watching the same programme at the same time and in the same place."

He continued: "In a world where anyone under 40 has to be surgically removed from their mobile or tablet, the screen on the wall or in the corner still has the power to get people to sit together and watch together."

Bishop Baines comments disagree with the remarks of Mary Whitehouse, a campaigner who argues that TV is eroding family life, by showing sexual images and violence, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Rt Revd Nick Baines, chair of The Sandford St Martin Trust, which promotes religious broadcasting, said: "For all those of lucky enough to have someone to share the remote this Christmas, put down your mobile, switch off your tablet and live in the moment.

"You may be surprised by what you can do."

He concluded that: Shared experience is always more powerful than private browsing.

"In a world of instant news, multi platform viewing, privatised experience and customised catch-up, let's hear it for the telly at Christmas: there's life in the old screen yet."

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