A Christmas message

Messenger Newspapers: A Christmas message A Christmas message

WHILE our shops are filled with all the good things of this festive season, our streets alight with Christmas decorations and we busy ourselves preparing for lovely family celebrations, many people are bereft of the very basics of life, family, home, sustenance: the people of the Philippines, the Syrian refugees, those on the streets of all our large cities, and many thousands more innocent victims of violence, poverty and natural disasters.

Christmas comes in the middle of winter and there is always that contrast between darkness and light, the cold world and the warmth of our homes, the tensions and pain of fraught relationships and the joy of the expressing our love for one another in such beautiful ways, the loneliness of the elderly and the delight of the young.

It is like the chiaroscuro of a Caravaggio painting.

All of human experience is here and we appreciate its beauty and goodness, while knowing its fragility and vulnerability.

And at the heart of it all, so often drowned by all the ‘razzmatazz’, lies the silent mystery of what it is to be human.

If we take time to listen to the silence then we might learn the wisdom to be found in the celebration of this great feast.

Into the silence we tell the simple story of new beginnings, of the birth of a child who will speak of goodness, happiness, truth and of all that human beings desire for life, who will experience suffering and death, and still be able to call the mystery at the centre of it all not only ‘God’ but ‘Father’.

In the life of Jesus we see God imaged as nothing but life-giving and unconditional love and discover this as the way to life.

The joy of this feast will be made all the more joyful when we enable others to share in it as we go out to them with our loving, practical and concrete support.

John Rafferty St Vincent’s Altrincham

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