"I'd like to tell you a story about a Bishop who moved to new area and who thought it would be a good idea to visit all the local factories to see what was going on.
"One day, he visited a chicken pie factory, where he was taken on a tour of the facility by the staff. He was really impressed by the process of manufacturing a chicken pie.
"What impressed him was that every person knew exactly what they were doing and why they were doing it, but they didn't know the stages before or after their step in the process.
"There was one man, the managing director, who knew every process in minute detail, except one thing - he didn't know what it was like to be a chicken.
"God created everything - the world, human beings and other animals - but he didn't know what it felt like to be a human being.
"So, He came into the world on that first Christmas as baby Jesus to experience what it was like to suffer, to feel happiness, pain, joy and disappointments.
"I would like you to remember that a lot of people are suffering at the moment, both physically or due to the recession. We're told it's going to get worse, so it's nice to know that God has experienced these feelings and that when we suffer, He knows what we're going through.
"I always find that reassuring because life is not always happy for any of us. In our moments of pain and suffering, I know we are not alone. He is with us, sharing those feelings, and I hope this brings some relief to you if you are suffering.
"I would like to close by wishing you all a happy Christmas and a really good New Year.
"God bless you all and Come on you Irons!"
Rev Alan Bolding
West Ham United Chaplain