As our school year draws to a close it is appropriate to reflect upon the ways in which Christmas draws us to reflect on our relationship with the human incarnation of God, Jesus.
For me, Christmas is always a time spent with family and is a time of pure joy and celebration. Our family takes great pleasure in preparing our Christmas feast and we delight in the acceptance of invitations from those we meet in our daily lives. We often have over 50 people gathered at our table, and one magnificent element to our Christmas is the diversity of faith and cultural experiences of those who join us. I am always deeply indebted to my parents for the witness they give their faith, in the welcome they have always extended to everyone they encounter. The delight and learning that takes place is now extended to a new generation in my, and my siblings children, who experience this welcome and learning in their lives. We always attend 8:00am mass together on Christmas morning and the opportunity for a quiet and simple celebration of the Eucharist of Christmas morning is a delightful way to commence the often hectic Christmas day.
On reflection these Christmas mornings we are called to consider the way in which Jesus entered our world. He was the child of refugees, people fleeing persecution at the hands of a tyrannical and ruthless foreign power. He was born to a couple with no wealth or privilege, the place of his birth, a stable, reflected the human experience of so many at the time. From this very first moment of Jesus' appearance on earth, the church and people of his time were challenged to consider that wealth, privilege and power were not gifts bestowed by God to those considered deserving. Through his short life, Jesus changed the concept of what we are called to do and to be; he challenged all in his time, and through the ages to our experience in 2022, to always reach out to the margins; to consider the path walked by others before placing judgement; to aim for a life of prayerful giving, tolerance, compassion and faith. The time of Jesus' birth is one for great celebration and should always give us pause to reflect on how his entry into the world insists that we consider our own priorities.
The world of Jesus' birth sadly aligns in many ways with the world we are currently experiencing; there seems at times to be so much injustice and lack of tolerance for other that we can feel overwhelmed without an idea of where to start any response or challenge to this injustice. One of the things of which I have been most proud over this year is the ways in which the entire community of Killester has remained steadfast in its challenging of injustice. Daily our young people call us to be better, and to reconsider priorities, so we can be people of strength and kindliness who give witness to the message of Christmas, which, at its simplest, is peace to all.
I pray that all in our community have a peace-filled Christmas and that regardless of your faith or religion, the coming weeks are ones that enable time spent with family and loved ones.