Dear Brothers and Sisters
This time of year brings about a change of pace in the day to day pattern of our lives. Schools are on holidays, there are work functions and many families look to a respite as they prepare for a break. For those who have lost a loved one during the year, this Christmas will have moments of sadness. Financial stress is a reality as many struggle to make ends meet. We should remember these people and encourage and support them.
I visited the Toowoomba Botanical Gardens the other night and what a great display of lights. Young children, along with parents and grandparents, marvelled at the display. There were many images but what caught my eye were three large illuminated words; “PEACE, HOPE and JOY”. This is what Christmas is about.
May Christmas be a time of joyful expectation as we realise the true gift that we celebrate at Christmas, the birth of the child Jesus, who comes with a message of Peace and Goodwill. Amid our many blessings, which we can take for granted, we should step aside for a moment and consider what Christmas is about and the entreaty of the Lord to love one another as He has loved us. It isn’t always easy to put our own concerns aside and to put others first. We are called to offer help without asking for anything in return. If we see a need in our community or beyond, may we do what we can to assist. May this time be a truly blessed one, when we all experience an outpouring of generosity and genuine concern for others.
Peace, Hope and Joy are gifts offered to us by God. As parents teach their children to share, hopefully, we are conscious of God’s many gifts to us and we will also share these gifts with others.
The message of Christmas is quite simple: “Good news and great joy to all the world today is born our Saviour Christ the Lord” (Luke 2: 10-11). God freely sends his Son to us and His kindness and goodness are beyond measure. In this special time, may we be alert to what Christmas is about and not be misled by the glossy wrappings which often accompany presents. Let us hear Christmas Carols and bells and also the Word of God, who became an infant in a manger.
Unlike some instructions which accompany toys and electrical goods, God’s instructions aren’t complicated. Rejoice, give Glory to God, share Peace, Hope and Joy!
May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you and your loved ones now and throughout the coming year.
Bishop Robert M. McGuckin, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba