THE Bishop and Lord Mayor of Bradford have sent a Christmas message to Bradford people.

The Right Reverend Toby Howarth started his role as the Bishop of Bradford earlier this year.

"Visiting is part of Christmas for many of us. We go to visit family and friends, and they come to visit us. These visits can be fun and joyful, very difficult, or a mixture of both. But when we actually visit people in their homes, we see things and learn things that we can miss in a phone call, text or Facebook post.

"We show that our presence and the time and effort we make in going to see someone is what is really important about this season," he said.

"My prayer for us this Christmas is that as we visit and welcome people - both friends and strangers - we will discover the love with which God visits and welcomes us in Jesus."

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Mike Gibbons, said: "Many of us will have different views on what Christmas brings. For most people it remains a very special time, one that reminds us of the bonds that are so important.

"Family and friends particularly, bring so much to our lives and brighten our very existence and it is good to celebrate with them all that the festive season has to offer.

"There are pressures at this time of year and some will find that Christmas time brings with it additional strains. Please let us all wherever possible, try to help those in need or who are suffering."

Cllr Gibbons said the Christmas story was about integration, understanding, peace and love.

"If we hold Christmas as special and it reminds us of our love for others, then let it not be just for now, but for next year and all the years to come."