In a few days we will celebrate Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Christmas is a celebration and message of hope and love being born into our world.
As the dark shadow of Covid-19 continues to cover our world and our lives this is a message, I believe, that we all need to hear, hope and love. 2021 has been a difficult year for many people. Living with a global pandemic all of us have fears: fears for the health and wellbeing of our families and friends, fears about the future. As Christmas approaches and 2021 draws to a close, we especially remember in prayer all who have lost family members or friends in the past year, and who have suffered other kinds of loss.
The most consoling and encouraging words of the Christmas story is the angelic message proclaimed to all, “Do not be afraid”. These comforting and hope filled words repeatedly occur many times in the Bible – and are mostly spoken by God to His people, “Do not be afraid”.
The heart of the Christmas message is that we need not be afraid because we have Emmanuel – God with us. Our God is one who walks with us on the journey of life. God is present to us as our source of strength, hope and guidance. We have a God who wanted to share His love with us by becoming one of us and thereby shares our joys and fears, our pains and suffering and our loves and kindnesses. Let us then draw strength this Christmas from the birth of Christ, that it is when things might seem darkest that hope burns brightest. “Do not be afraid”.
On behalf of the Irish Province of Carmelites, I would like to thank you for your kindness and support over the last year. Your commitment to our work and the Carmelite mission is deeply appreciated by all involved in our ministries.
I pray that you and all those you love and hold dear have a blessed and joyful Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and hope. May you enjoy these days of love, kindness and happiness among family and friends.
God bless, take care, and stay safe.
Michael Troy, O.Carm.