It’s bizarre trying to get into the Christmas spirit while it’s still light in the evenings.

But we manfully turned a blind eye to October’s Indian summer, stuck a few carols on the jukebox, cracked open the mince pies and set out to bring you the most shamelessly Christmassy issue of the mag we could. Here’s what I thought about as we did:

1. Christmas starts with Christ. We borrowed the slogan for our front cover from this year’s campaign, running in association with Premier Christian Media, because we thought it was brilliantly effective, and communicated exactly what we wanted to say about Christmas. Look out for the posters, which will be coming to a bus shelter near you, and donate to the campaign online at

2. Christmas is one of the best evangelistic opportunities we have. Many friends who wouldn’t dream of darkening the door of a church at any other time of year love going at Christmas to sing a few carols. So how are you going to make the most of it? Turn to p33 for Greg Downes’ hints and tips on mission at Christmas.

3. It’s hard work. Lots of church leaders despair about Christmas. There is so much more to organise than usual, they have to think of a new way to tell a story which everyone thinks they know already, and are under enormous pressure to put on the best service of the year. So be good to them.

4. Not everyone loves Christmas. Research shows that people with family, mental health or financial problems find these things can be exacerbated at Christmas. Turn to p38 for Heather Tomlinson’s investigation.

5. It’s totally ok to wear snowman jumpers and listen to Cliff Richard. Read our profile of the man himself on p20.

After three years, it is time to say goodbye to Paul Woolley and Joel Edwards, our news comment columnists. I have enjoyed their humour, intelligence, as well as their willingness to engage with any topics I threw at them. As a magazine, we are committed to the ethos of engaging with the world around us, and not just getting sucked into a Christian bubble, which is why we have news comment. We are equally committed to hearing from a variety of voices. Watch out for some new columnists next month and let me know what you think of them...