“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light
On those who have walked in the shadow of death a light has shone” (Is. 9:2)
This hope and vision of the new dawn that the Messiah brings to the world is what makes Christmas so special. It is a wonderful piece of good news for us to hear and embrace this Christmas.
We do not need to list all the areas of darkness and evil that we have had to endure over this past year. The pain and loss that they have brought to our families is raw and real.
We are always in need of new light and hope. Otherwise the darkness and evil would overwhelm us. The child in Bethlehem is the unlikely messenger of hope to the world. The infant, tiny and helpless, is a measure of God’s love for us in our struggle with dark forces that threaten us.
This Christmas we remember so many who suffer because of violence and war in the Middle East and Africa. The threat of famine is very real for many in Africa because of the effects of climate change.
At home the tragic loss of so many young and old people who have died by suicide and road accidents. We keep their families close this Christmas in our thoughts and prayers.
So many do not have a proper shelter to call home.
For all these ills, we pray for the leadership of men and women to nurture hope and optimism in the hearts of so many who suffer and are dispirited.
Despite all these afflictions we enjoy many blessings in family and friendship. Our country is rich in opportunities for young people. We are blessed with so many public servants who are dedicated to the service of people in health and justice, education and public services. We need to appreciate these blessings. Failure to appreciate our blessings will condemn us to being constantly cranky and disgruntled.
The Christ – child, Emmanuel, “God with us”, is the core blessing of Christmas. I hope you cherish the light and hope it brings to your life.
Wishing you the light and hope of this special time.
+ William Crean
- Bishop William Crean is Bishop of Cloyne.
- See catholicbishops.ie for more messages and reflections for Christmas 2016.
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