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Christmas brings out the best in us every year when we try to mend the friendships that have weakened or fractured. It may be the Christmas card or the present by which we rebuild bridges. We pay tribute to the many groups and organizations who work in our community to make life a little easier over Christmas but who are also there for the rest of the year.
In his poem ‘Christmas Eve Remembered’, Patrick Kavanagh spoke of the poor, the young and the old whose lives were hard but hope certain; ‘For one in Bethlehem has kept their dreams safe for them.’ The hopes and fears of all the years, as the carol says, that turned peoples’ minds to Bethlehem in times past should continue to point us there even in its present sad condition. Walls fall as they did in Berlin and Belfast. There is light here that the darkness cannot overpower.
The Prince of Peace came to tear down the walls of hatred and division, to open our eyes to the common humanity that we share, to challenge the cynic, and the world weary, that a better way can be found – that there is something new under the sun.
Christmas can be a sad time for those who have lost a spouse a parent or a dear one. I admire the way we pay our respects at the graves of those gentle souls who in their time led honest simple lives and to whom we will be forever indebted for their love.
Our wish for you is that the days of Christmas will be special, that we will celebrate his presence together and that when you kneel at the crib, you will realize again how much God loves you
The crib is our common home in miniature, a place where God tiny and poor, dwells with creation in love, harmony and peace .How powerfully that truth was rediscovered in Greccio the night St. Francis made the world’s first Christmas crib. In smaller and less dramatic forms the crib has stayed with us and found a place in our homes, schools and hospitals in the run up to Christmas each year. It remains a much loved window into the feast of feasts reminding us of the divine love which stoops down and makes all creation new.
Peace and joy to you all this Christmas time
Nicholas O’Mahony, John Shine, Shane O’Neill, P.J. Breen