Christmas Message from Monsignor Brendan Byrne

19 Dec 2011

Christmas Message from Monsignor Brendan Byrne, Diocesan Administrator of Kildare and Leighlin Diocese

‘Christmas a beginning not an end’

As Christmas comes to us at the end of the calendar year, there is a natural tendency to view Christmas against the backdrop of the year gone by.  For many people Christmas carries a note of completion or conclusion.  For some, there is just the bittersweet sense of having got to the end of another difficult year.  In this regard, Christmas serves more as a distraction from the regular routine of life.

For believers, Christmas marks a wonderful beginning, the blessing of new life.  We rejoice that a Saviour has been born to us.  Above all else, Christmas is about our attraction to the person of Jesus Christ, our thanksgiving for his presence in our world and in our life.  Once more we can feel called to his side, invited to join in his company and to  follow his path.  The real power of Christmas is that this invitation is open to all.

Yet, this invitation is not fully recognized. In life, we sometimes come to the conclusion that we have missed our moment.  We resign ourselves to a less hopeful future. We forget that the Lord’s love for us and the world is not conditional, that his love is greater than our limitations.

It must be said that the past year has been very stressful and challenging for so many people.  We are living through a time when the sums just don’t add up.  For so many individuals and families, this means constant worry about the very basics of life.  Cuts and cutbacks are the order of the day but there is a genuine concern about how and when growth will follow.

The great wonder of Christmas is that the full truth of God’s love is shown to us in the stable of Bethlehem.  When all else is stripped away, this truth remains.  Like the wise men, we do homage to the infant child because we recognize the Lord who has come to set us free, to bind up hearts that are broken.  This Christmas, I pray that we will all accept this truth into our hearts and together experience a time of healing, hope and renewal.