Christmas 2023 message from Archbishop Eamon Martin

20 Dec 2023


  • Archbishop Martin: “as people of God we can never allow ourselves, or the world, to stop daring to hope”

“He assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh, and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago, and opened for us the way to eternal salvation…”

May we inherit that great promise in which now we dare to hope.  This profound prayer from the first Advent preface is particularly relevant this year as we dare to hope for Christmas peace and joy in the midst of a very troubled world.
I have been privileged during my years as a priest and a bishop to witness many people ‘daring to hope’ even in the most difficult of circumstances.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose all hope.  And yet sadly we live in a world where too many people fall into despair – sometimes turning to alcohol, drugs, other addictions or self-harm in order to escape their fears and disappointments.
In the musical version of Les Misérables, the lead character, Jean Valjean, sings of God:  “He gave me hope when hope was gone.  He gave me strength to journey on.”
For me that’s what “daring to hope” is about – to have hope when hope seems gone; to truly believe that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us – our reason for living; our reason for hoping.
There seem to be so many reasons nowadays to give up on hope – the terrible wars, violence and injustices that appear intractable; the shocking disregard for human dignity and vulnerable life; the almost relentless advance of climate change.  At a personal level it is easy sometimes to feel overwhelmed by the pressures and worries of every day.  But as people of God we can never allow ourselves, or the world, to stop daring to hope.

This Christmas I pray for an outpouring of hope – light in the darkness – for you, your loved ones and all those we serve.  Thank you for all that you do.
A very Happy Christmas to you, and many blessings for the New Year.


  • Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland