Another year has slipped away into oblivion and it was an exceptionally difficult year. Here in Ireland many people are experiencing very great pain, hurt and worry: rain and floods on an unprecedented scale, unemployment is growing, money is becoming scarcer by the day, addiction is on the increase, and disillusion within the Church is at an all time high after the publication of the Dublin report. If we look to the wider world the picture gets gloomier; half the world is hungry, the other half is at war. The prospect of global warming and its consequence are frightening.
But do we, perhaps, dwell too much on the darkness in our lives and in our world? We cannot, of course, make light of the dangers, the disasters, the tragedies and the scandals that affect us today. But we must not let them defeat us either; we must not give in to despair. Because all is not darkness! Just think about the billions of little acts of kindness and help that people offer one another daily across the world! All is not lost. Seemingly, good and evil exist side by side in our world and the two will march along together until the end of time. Christmas doesn’t change that but it ought to change our way of looking at it. The message of Christmas is this: God became one of us. God became a little child in our world of darkness, our world of evil, hunger, pain and scandals and our world of violence, terrorism and death. This child is God’s guarantee that God is with us and that God is with us through everything. Because of this child, good will ultimately triumph over evil, light over darkness, life over death.
In the meantime our task as followers of Jesus Christ is to keep the good one step ahead of the evil, to shed enough light to help people find their way in the darkness.
In this spirit of light and hope, I wish you all the joy and happiness of the Christmas season.