Pastor's Desk: Christmas Day

Posted 24th December 2010 in Pastor's Desk

Dear Friends,

nativity

The great Festival of Christmas is upon us! Our time of waiting and preparing has finally come to an end. We gather to begin the Season of Christmas with the celebration of Christmas Day itself. The promise that was made by God and communicated through the centuries by the prophets has been fulfilled; the Child, called Emmanuel, a name that means “God is with us” has been born to us.

For the past four weeks we have been trying our best not to get sucked up in the commercialisation of this great religious feast by making our way through the season of Advent, a time during which the Church asks us to reflect and prepare. The financial difficulties that are all around us and the heavy snow have probably assisted us in not going overboard and making us evaluate things a bit more critically than we would have normally done. But this day of days requires a deeper reflection than that. We are celebrating the fact that God has taken on the human condition; before he sent the prophets as his messengers but now we hear the “Word of God”, as John in his Gospel calls Jesus, directly.

Such a momentous occasion would be organised by humans on a grand scale but God does things differently. The Christ, or Saviour, was not born in grandeur or privilege but in the midst of poverty and a ramshackle stable. His parents are not people of power and influence but a humble couple who have a deep faith and love for God. The first people to greet the news of God’s intervention in human history are not the wise and learned but the uneducated shepherds who have a real understanding of how this wondrous event changes everything.

None of us were present for that first Christmas. What we know and understand of the birth of Jesus, the Christ, has been passed on to us by others. In that sense Jesus is born to a new generation every year as the significance and closeness of God in our lives is experienced anew. And even for us who have celebrated Christmas many times before, we can always learn something new and allow ourselves to be touched again by the fact that God loved us so much, he sent His Son amongst us.

I have often described Christmas as a love story; God is making a powerful gesture of love in the birth of His Son and it demands a response by us as individuals. That is why Christmas must make a difference in our daily lives. It cannot be a one day wonder but must become an event that continually renews us in spirit and challenges us to be as God wants us to be. While that is a personal challenge for each one of us there is a support in being part of a community of faith that is trying to meet that challenge. And so the parish is not just a geographical outline on a map but the means of giving and receiving the encouragement we need to follow the will of God for each one of us.

holly

In conclusion I want to wish each and every single one of you a very Happy and Holy Christmas. I am very lucky to have a great Parish Team around me in Fr. Gary, Sr. Margaret, Sr. Mary and Clare in the Parish Office; all of them have been a great source of advice, wisdom and energy. The huge number of volunteers in the parish has also been a great support in that so many people carry out their functions generously and reliably that there is always someone to help get the job done. There are too many to mention and that in itself is a great tribute to the spirit in the parish. If you feel your talent has not been tapped by the parish yet please get in touch, there is always plenty to be done!

Happy Christmas to you all,
Fr. Eoin

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