A Christmas message from the Dean

Tuesday 22 December

In last year’s Christmas message I said that we were “looking forward with confidence and excitement to all the new year will bring”. Well, I don’t think I would get high marks in a prediction class!

But then almost no-one saw the pandemic coming, let alone all that it has meant for our churches and communities and indeed the whole human family. 

So it is we come to Christmas, a bit battered and rather bewildered … but not defeated. The Cathedral team has shown remarkable resilience, patience and loyalty, and Chapter is rightly proud of all they have done to maintain the ministry and mission of the Cathedral in the midst of such a difficult year.

For the month of November, four letters were boldly visible in the Cathedral: H O P E.

In a sense they reflect what lies at the heart of the Advent season and, with the beginnings of a programme of vaccination, there are signs that we will be able to begin to reclaim some of those privileges and freedoms that we once took for granted – meeting together, worshipping together, singing together!

But our hope goes beyond the possibility that we might get back some kind of normality. Our hope is founded on the belief that, whatever our struggles, we are precious in God’s sight and known by him; that in Christ he has shared in our human experience, that he never abandons us and that above all he has a plan to heal and renew not just individuals but creation itself – a new heaven and a new earth. 

Such a hope exceeds our wildest expectations but it is the promised fulfilment of God’s plan made long ago, which began with the birth of Jesus, was demonstrated in his death and resurrection, and will one day be fully revealed. It is a hope that ensures that, even in such times, Christmas can be the source both of true comfort and a deep joy. 

May that be true for you this Christmas: and whatever the future holds, may God’s joy and peace be yours. 


Chris Dalliston signature




The Very Revd Chris Dalliston
Dean of Peterborough

Photo © Terry Harris

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