Christmas Message 2021
Most Rev. Wm. Crean, Bishop of Cloyne
A time to cherish faith, family and friends
Our expectation for a happy and peaceful Christmas celebration rests on the wonderful memories of Christmas gatherings in the past. These memories awaken our hopes to celebrate again what is best in life with those closest to us. This expectation and hope explain why so many travel from near and far to come home for Christmas.
The persistence of Covid across the world has disrupted the rhythm of our comings and goings. These limitations and restrictions have sharpened our sense of the essential and important in life. Nothing replaces the joy of being with our own who accept and love us as we are “warts and all”.
The child in Bethlehem is the inspiration of our coming together because in the person of the Christ Child, God has made his home with us and become one of us. As one who was without welcome, He has taught us to make all welcome. It is He who has taught us that the stranger is one whose name we have yet to come to know. That enmity, bitterness and resentment simply ‘eats our hearts out’. That in giving we receive, that in forgiving we experience mercy.
In our blessing and good fortune, we keep those who are suffering in spirit or body close, through our concern and prayer. We pray that the rich nations will be generous in sharing the vaccines with the poor so we can all be safe.
We remember those bereaved because of Covid and the pain experienced because of restrictions on celebrations.
We are indebted to those on the front line who have given so generously, sometimes at great personal cost. Our thoughts too are with those for whom the pandemic has generated great stress and tension in their lives.
So we cherish these days of celebration as ones of special blessing on one another whereby we realise we are grace filled in the intimacy and care of family and friends.
May that peace of God which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7)