I can remember well, as a small boy, being disappointed that Christmas Day was almost over; it would be a whole year until the next one! As I grew older, however, I began to realise that what we were celebrating at Christmas was not something fleeting or transient, but rather the birth of the Son of God who would be with us, not just for Christmas Day, or for the Christmas season, but for ever. A few days ago, I was thinking of how many times over the centuries the walls of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral have been steeped in the reading of the Gospel accounts of Christ’s birth. Permanent as though they seem to us, they symbolise, and witness to, the One who is unchanging – the Eternal Word of God made flesh, ‘God with us.’ This is the good news of Christmas: that God cares enough to come in Christ to save us all, and to save us for ever.
Time and time again, those who worship in Saint Patrick’s will speak glowingly of their perception of an atmosphere of prayer, and of how they hear God’s voice through word and sacrament, and in the marvelous music and singing. If we experience the nearness of the God who came to earth as the Babe of Bethlehem, who lived, and died, and rose again, Christmas need not pass for us with the end of the day, or the end of the year, or ever.
Jesus, who was humble enough to come to the stable of an inn, is willing to bring to us the faith, the hope and the love which were His gifts that first Christmas. It is my prayer that we will perceive Christ’s Presence ever with us. May He be the Unseen Guest in our homes, and in all areas of life, not only this Christmas, but always. May He be with us in all the days that are to be, in our joys, and no less in our sorrows.
May the Lord richly bless you, and may you experience His love, peace and joy this Christmas, and for evermore. William
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