The run–up to Christmas often leaves us somewhat breathless by the time we get there. Some of us are very well prepared and others of us find ourselves improvising and hoping and praying that we will somehow get there in the end.
The Advent Readings have told us repeatedly to stay
awake and to remain in a frame of mind where we expect eagerly something
special and different to happen.
Christian teaching uses many
different words to express this sense of what is special: peace and
goodwill; incarnation and salvation; repentance and forgiveness. All of
these point us towards what is different: the fact that God wants us to
accept his friendship of us. And the person at the heart of this is
One of the greatest gifts the modern world has given us
is communication and connection with each other and with people we will
probably never meet in the flesh; yet we see and hear them on radio,
television or on our phones.
Worldwide communication has given us a
stronger and a deeper sense of God’s word and of God’s world. It has
given us the capacity to understand the religious commitment of people
of World Faiths other than our own as well as the integrity and
compassion of people of no expressed faith.
The peoples of the
Philippines are uppermost in our thoughts and prayers at Christmas 2013
as are the peoples of Syria and of Gaza. They deserve a little forward
planning and organization in terms of generosity and giving in this
season of peace and goodwill.
The Most Reverend Michael Jackson,
Archbishop of Dublin