JOINT CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2017
Christmas is on the cards. Sending and receiving Christmas cards is still very much part of our Christmas experience. There is a whole variety of greetings on the cards :Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings’, Nollaig Shona Duit and Ho Ho Ho are but a few offered this year.
The greeting is key because it was at the centre of the Christmas story in the Bible. In St.Luke’s Gospel, the Angle Gabriel was sent by God, to Mary a young unmarried girl. His greeting frightened Mary and his message from God astounded her. She had found with God and was to conceive and to bear a son without human agency. He was to be called Jesus and he would be great and be called the Son of God.
The angel Gabriel’s greeting and Mary’s response lie at the heart of Christmas.
God comes to us in Jesus, born of Mary. God steps into our world and shares our human experience, being born into a family and be raised to adulthood. His coming has transformed the world through his life, death and resurrection.
The babe of Bethlehem is Lord of all and at Christmas we wonder at the purposes of God and marvel at his ways. This is His story we celebrate and it is our story too. Like Mary we are favoured by God’s Grace, and like her we are asked to believe and receive God’s gift, Jesus Christ his Son as our Saviour and King.
May we wish you and yours God’s favour and presence this Christmas as you gather with family or friends and as you gather in parish churches to hear again of the greatest story ever told.
+ Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of Kilmore.
+Samuel Ferran Glenfield, Bishop of Kilmore, Ardagh and Elphin.