So the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem
and found Mary and Joseph and the baby
Jesus lying in the manger.
It was exactly as they had been told. Luke 2:16
The heart of Christmas is amazing: that the baby born to Mary and Joseph, was God coming to be with all people on earth. The Almighty, the All-Powerful came into our world as a gentle loving new-born baby. Such is “the loving kindness of the heart of our God”. He came to stay, He is with us always. He is present with your family. Ponder deeply on this incredible mystery.
A happy and a blessed Christmas to one and all. Enjoy the presence of children. Have time for family, neighbours, family and friends. Let no neighbour’s Christmas day be long and lonely because no one comes to visit. Be generous to needy causes, give what you can. Have time for God. Have time to say a prayer and count your blessings. Especially give thanks for the goodness of the people in your life. Let us all gather together in church to joyfully give praise and thanks to God.
This Christmas, mindful of the World Meeting of Families in 2018 (WMF 2018), let us remember the story of our own families over the past two or three generations, the joys and the sorrow, the births and the deaths. Maybe even look through old photographs. In families, periods of enormous loss or pain are so often followed by genuine healing and new hope and happiness. Recalling the past, see the wonderful loyalty, care and love of your own family through the decades.
Pray that worldwide all families will one day have the opportunities that we take for granted in Ireland. WMF2018 asks us to see all people on earth as one family under God Our loving Father. It will call on the whole world to appreciate and give priority to family life. Remember especially families in Ireland with no hope of a place to call home. Home, family and marriage are God’s greatest gifts to humanity. God bless all our homes and families.
Thanks to everyone for your contribution to the life of your parish community through the year. Thanks to all the volunteers whose dedication to local organisations and charities so enrich our communities be it through culture, sport or assistance for people in need.
My Christmas prayer is to give praise to God asking that He fill all the homes, families and communities of our diocese with his Grace and Peace.
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth. Luke 2:14
Bishop Ray Browne Christmas 2017