Posted: 23 December 2012

Finding comfort and support

'In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’  (Luke 1:39-42)

Mary does not quite run away but she does get out of Nazareth to come to terms not only with the angel’s message, but presumably her growing awareness of the baby developing within her. She goes to a safe place: her relatives. Here she finds unexpected comfort, understanding and support.

Too many young girls run away from home. Some may do so because they find themselves pregnant and want to keep it hidden; others carry other secrets with them that they feel unable to share. Many do not run to places of safety, but only find themselves in deeper trouble. The Children’s Society seeks to work with such young runaways and like Elizabeth be the source of comfort, understanding and support.


Loving God, we pray for young girls who find themselves pregnant and scared; for those who run away. May they find places of comfort and support rather than danger. Bless the work of the Children’s Society amongst such girls.

We pray in the name of the one who was carried by his runaway mother, Jesus our Lord. Amen.

By The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham


At The Children’s Society we are working with children and young people who run away through our programme work as well as through our policy and campaigning. We have successfully worked with the government to put safety measures in place for children who run away and are now working with local authorities to make provision for young runaways. You can take action here and also find a set of prayer and worship resources for use in your church

Thank you for travelling through Advent with us on a journey of reflection and prayer. We wish you a joyful Christmas and every blessing for 2013.

Epiphany resources

As we move beyond Christmas into the season of Epiphany, do have a look at our resources for Epiphany Sunday. We’re offering a set of sermon notes and a film to use in churches. These have been written and produced by The Revd Canon Dr Angus Ritchie and The Contextual Centre for Theology, and invite us to consider contemporary issues of asylum in the context of the Epiphany story. You can find these resources here.


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By The Right Revd Paul Butler - Guest bloggers