Christmas Message 2011 from Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe

22 Dec 2011

Christmas Message 2011 from Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe

We live in the darkest week of the year. Nature is hushed in the seeming sleep of death. The sun is at its lowest arc in the skies. Only gradually will the daylight begin to lengthen.

Moreover, many families have been passing through a difficult time as they try to survive the impact of unemployment, debt and poverty. The economic downturn has brought much suffering to many homes. A lot of people are struggling to survive.

Christmas, however, is a time of peace and hope. The Christ Child born for us atBethlehembrought us the promise of renewed friendship with our God. Again and again throughout his life, he will say to us: “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” If God is with us, we shall be safe.

Everything about the Christmas scene is extremely simple: the defenceless Child, the crib, the shepherds, the adoring Mother. It is our interior attitude more than the multiplicity of things that makes us happy. For love of us God made himself a Child. His little outstretched arms want to embrace a waiting world. The Christmas crib reminds us how we should appreciate and respect every human child, safeguarding them from all harm.

Let us open our hearts to him who comes to save us. I wish you the deep joy and peace that come from simple things, from family friendship and from knowing that God came near us in the Child Jesus, with hope in our distress, faith in our doubts and joy in our sorrows.

A Happy Christmas and God bless you.

+ Philip Boyce, OCD, Bishop of Raphoe

Further information:

Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444