Archbishop Jackson highlights hope in adversity
The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin has encouraged people to seek out light in times of tragedy as a new year approaches.
In his Christmas message, Dr Michael Jackson referred to tragedies such as the Carrickmines fire and the Paris attacks. But he emphasised the importance of hope as the festive season draws nearer, saying: "As the darkness gets blacker, the light gets brighter."
"For many of us our experience is that darkness, once it descends, simply gets blacker and blacker," he said.
"Reflecting on the year soon to draw to a close, you might be thinking of the horrific conflagration at the halting site in Carrickmines on the outskirts of Dublin, the death of Garda Golden in Omeath, or a personal loss."
"You might think of the refugees fleeing from Syria and from other parts of the Middle East, and the forgotten peoples of Africa who continue to flee," he added.
"You might think of attacks in Paris, Beirut, America and Mali."
However, he also said people may see "a flicker of grace and hope, of human dignity and spirit among those who have suffered most and lost most and who still give to others".
Dr Jackson said this hope could be seen in numerous challenges in the Middle East and at European borders, as well as in homelessness, destitution, grief and poverty in Ireland. "Our hope, particularly as we approach Christmas, is that the proportion of tangible light and brightness will increase as, in the words of the Christmas Gospel, the darkness does not overcome it," he said.