Added on 18/12/2012
From The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin:
Christmas is upon us. I imagine that, like me, many of you still have quite a lot of preparation to do. For each one of us it will be different. But there is something in common about all of it and it is this: we want, at this time of year, to do our best for other people. It might just strike us that we have omitted to send some people Christmas cards or indeed forgotten to visit someone who will be alone at Christmas or it might have to do with the preparation we do in our own homes for Christmas Day, in ways we have always done and love to repeat as each Christmas embraces us.
For many people, and for an increasing number, preparations of this sort are luxuries beyond their wildest dreams. Words like poverty are what they see staring them in the face of mirrors and shop windows as they see others on the inside participating in warm merriment or rushing into car parks and on to buses and trams with Christmas shopping. All of the myth of Christmas has fallen asunder and it has become little more than a focus of anger fuelled by alienation.
For so many visible and tangible reasons all of us are aware of the diminishing and deadening effects of changed economic circumstances. We might even talk sagely about the collapse of the Western capitalist model. But this cuts no ice with people for whom the present and the future offers nothing other than the real absence of necessities of life. This cuts no ice for people for whom a consumerized Christmas is now nothing other than a taunt and an affront.
The first Christmas began in hastily improvised circumstances on the edge of a little town. Those who met God and greeted God were in so many ways outsiders to the social hierarchies and privileges of their day. It is always the challenge of the Gospel to the disciples of this same God incarnate to embrace those who are today’s outsiders, whatever their circumstances. Like any of us, they are human beings who crave dignity and love. Christmas is about these positive values and, in the middle of our rejoicing, let us always remember those who simply cannot rejoice.
+Michael Dublin and Glendalough
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Diocesan Communications Officer
Dublin & Glendalough