Welcome and forgiveness go hand in hand with Christmas
Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan
IN less 'health and safety' conscious days, a custom in Ireland was to put a tall, thick candle on the sill of the largest window after sunset on Christmas Eve.
The candle was left to burn all night and it signified a welcome for Mary and Joseph as they made their journey that fateful night.
The candle represented openness and welcome, a house expectant, new life – eternal Life – an altogether new chapter in salvation history.
As we gather this Christmas, may such a light burn in our lives.
A light that says 'welcome home' or indeed 'welcome back' - a light that says 'I'm sorry' or 'you are forgiven', 'there's room at our table', 'we miss you and are thinking of you', 'God grant you eternal rest.'
Each year Christmas makes its quest into what lies at the heart of us all; the desire to belong and to have meaning; the memory of innocence and the want to do right; the place made for the new arrival, thoughts of times past, dreams and hopes of what is to come.
Wherever we find ourselves this Christmas, may we act as a light that says welcome to the child Jesus.
May the Christ child take root in us and open our hearts, minds and souls to things eternal – love, peace, justice – and joy!
May the story of Christmas call us to reflect.
And may we emerge from the reflection fortified to accept the blessings and face the challenges of the New Year ahead.
New Ross Standard