The Christmas story is more than 2000 years old, but we never tire of hearing it again. It’s the original love story – the story of God’s love for us when he took on our human flesh and became one of us, Emmanuel, God-with-us. And it’s not just the fact that God came into our world but the way he chose to come that makes this story so special. Pope Benedict tells us: “God did not enter the world with a show of power to compel our love; rather he stole into the world with the vulnerability of a child to invite our love”.
The fact that God became one of us makes each one of us special. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. We are precious in God’s eyes. So every human life is sacred. The life of every human being has an infinite value because we are loved by God as his own children. And so the feast of Christmas – remembering the birth of Jesus – is a call to respect all human life, from its beginning to its natural end.
Our thoughts this Christmas must be with those who have lost loved ones in the past year and who may find Christmas this year a very lonely time, a time of painful memories of happier days. We remember especially those who have lost loved ones tragically, through suicide or violence, through accidents or addiction. As we reflect on the vulnerability of Mary on the road to Bethlehem and of the child Jesus in her womb, we think also of the vulnerability of pregnant mothers and their unborn children and we pray that all of them will be blessed with the gifts of life and health.
May Christ’s love touch our hearts this Christmas. May it help us to appreciate the value of every human person – young or old, healthy or sick, born or unborn. May Christ’s love inspire us to create a society where all are treated fairly, where no one goes hungry or in need and where everybody is honoured with the dignity due to the children of God.
I wish you all a very happy, holy and peaceful Christmas.
Bishop Leo O’Reilly
Bishop of Kilmore