Christmas Message 2003 from Most Rev John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne

17 Dec 2003


17 DECEMBER 2003


Issued by the Catholic Communications Office on behalf of

Most Rev John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne

I have noticed recently that an increasing number of people are expressing negative
views in regard to Christmas. Some, in fact, are taking off on a journey to where
Christmas will not be celebrated, are really opting out of Christmas, while others
are disillusioned with the hustle and bustle of a festive season which has become
no more the annual rush to spend, to eat, drink and be merry. At the same time,
we still have on our streets those who are constrained to live rough. Huddled under
cardboard and makeshift clothing these people, many of them young, have lost their
home, they have no hearth to make them warm, no family to make them welcome. We
live, indeed, in a world of contradictions, in a world fraught with frailty, hurt
and broken trust, in a world whose daily news menu is violence, war and death.
Indeed, we live in a world which, more than ever before, has need to celebrate
the real Christmas.

In contrast with all the tinsel and lighting, the partying and frivolity, the
pain and suffering, “ there is a Child born for us, a Son given to us” (Is. 9:6),
a Child who speaks to the inner heart of each one of us; a Child who is innocent
and pure and, at the same time, empowering: “and dominion is laid on His shoulders”
(Is.9: 6).

Can we, this Christmas, allow this Child to reach out to each one, no matter in
what condition we find ourselves, to touch us in a way we’ve never been touched
before? Can we, despite out hectic daily schedule, find that moment to listen to
Him as He tells us, each one, “ My Father has sent me to you to tell you how much
He really loves you – just as you are”? Can we stand, for an instant, before the
Crib and, through the eyes of the Virgin Mother, contemplate the immensity of the
mystery of love that is being unfolded before us? Can we see reflected in the eyes
of the children at the Crib, who can so easily identify with the Baby Jesus, the
beauty, love and peace of the real Christmas that speaks to the inner needs of
the human heart today?

My prayer is that this Christmas of 2003 may make a difference in our lives, in
our families and communities, in our Nation and in the World. May we not be carried
away or put off by the Christmas of illusions but rather may we feel the healing
hand of the Christ-Child in our lives and take Him at His word when he tells us
that He has come to make all things new. (cf. Mt. 19:28).

A Happy and Grace-Filled Christmas to all.

+ John Magee.
Bishop of Cloyne.

17 December 2003

Further information:
Director of Communications Martin Long 086 172 7678
Communications Officer Brenda Drumm 087 233 7797