The Chair of Banbridge Council’s Christmas card, depicting a waterfall scene of the River Bann in Banbridge, has been recognised for its Christian reference.
The Christian Institute carried out a survey of the official Christmas cards sent out by Britain’s local councils and the card was the only one that made reference to Christ.
Inside it read “As we celebrate the Birth of Christ may God’s Love be with you this Christmas season and evermore.”
The survey found that barely half of councils in Britain now send cards or other greetings specifically mentioning Christmas.
And, out of almost 200 local authorities surveyed, only one - from the SDLP councillor is sending a card mentioning the birth of Christ.
The findings led to accusations that government bodies in the UK have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas and are intent on “airbrushing” Christianity out of public life out of a misguided fear of offending members of other religions.
Mrs Hamilton said that she was surprised when she found out the card was recognised.
“I wasn’t aware until the Sunday Telegraph approached me, that I was the only one who made a reference to the birth of Christ on the card,” the SDLP councillor said.
“I actually have to say I was very surprised when I found that out because it is a Christian festival and I am a practicing Christian.
“I didn’t expect to be the only council to have a religious reference, it was a personal choice and, as a Christian, I’m surprised no one made any connections between Christ and Christmas on their cards.”
The SDLP councillor added: “I wouldn’t see Banbridge council as being more religious than any other council.
“I was quite happy to have a religious verse on my card. I was asked if I wanted a religious message so I said yes.”
“I’m hoping the people of Banbridge are pleased that I made reference to the birth of Christ on the Christmas card.”
She added that she hopes people from other religions and cultures would not be offended by the card.
She said: “Whether you are a Christian or not, come and join in the celebration and that idea of spreading goodwill to all men is something that we should be welcoming.”