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On the day angels are said to have promised peace and goodwill on earth, Mark Tully considers the idea of benevolence. With readings from Derek Jacobi and Adjoa Andoh.

According to the gospels, on the first Christmas Day, angels promised peace and good will on earth. The meaning of peace is clear, but what did they mean by good will and what do we understand it to mean today?

Mark Tully discusses the spiritual and religious idea of benevolence with academic, musician and priest June Boyce-Tillman and asks how we can show good will to those around us on a day which can be both joyful and stressful.

Derek Jacobi and Adjoa Andoh read from work by Archbishop Tutu and poets Mark Turbyfill and Karen Gershon, and there's music from Tchaikovsky, Ella Fitzgerald and The Van Dykes. Albert Finney sings as well.

Readers: Derek Jacobi and Adjoa Andoh
Presented by Mark Tully
Produced by Frank Stirling
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Christmas Day 2016 23:30

Music Played

  • Ella Fitzgerald

    It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

    • Capitol.
  • Albert Finney

    I Hate People

    • Planetworks.
  • The Van Dykes

    No Man Is An Island

    • Connoisseur Collection.
  • Lama Gyurme & Jean Philippe Rykiel

    Chenrezi Pureland Prayer

    • Real World.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Symphony No. 4, IV. Finale (feat. Leningrad Philharmonic / Evgeny Mravinsky)

    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Music For The Royal Fireworks: 3. La Paix (feat. Sir Neville Marriner / Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields)

    • Decca.


Title: God's Dream

Author: Desmond Tutu 

A speech given at the Distinguished Peace Leadership Presentation in 1990.


Title: Strangers 

Author: Mark Turbyfill 

Published by the Poetry Foundation


Title: The Church and the Working Man 

Author: Edgar J Helms 

Published in Zion's Herald 17 July 1901


Title: Letter XII 

Author: Mary Wollstonecraft 

Published in the Virago Book of Spirituality


Title: Three Wishes 

Author: Karen Gershon

Published in Selected Poems by Gollancz


Title: Scrooge, A Defence 

Author: Gwyn Thomas 

Published in Father's Christmas by Ingot


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