Christ­mas is a mag­i­cal time in good times and in bad

Bray People - - Bray People -

There is no get­ting away from the fact that 2009 will not be a good year for many fam­i­lies and I am very con­scious that this Christ­mas, and the weeks and months af­ter the cel­e­bra­tion will be dif­fi­cult one for so many peo­ple.

This Christ­mas and next year we must all re­mem­ber the most vul­ner­a­ble in our so­ci­ety – older peo­ple who en­joyed ser­vices to al­low them to live in their own homes; peo­ple who are rapidly fall­ing into debt, chil­dren whose par­ents will strug­gle to pro­vide not only the ex­tra lux­u­ries, but even some ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties.

We are see­ing some of this al­ready through our Cross­care ser­vices; groups who never had to use our food banks are seek­ing help for the first time this year; peo­ple who never though they would lose their home are com­ing to our shelters. So far, thank God, the num­bers are small – but they are grow­ing and we must all work to en­sure that next year, or the year af­ter, or when­ever our cur­rent eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties pass, that the vul­ner­a­ble will not be fur­ther marginal­ized and will be in a po­si­tion to con­trib­ute again rather than drop­ping to a level of de­pen­dency they can­not find a way out of.

Christ­mas, in good times or in bad, in war or in peace is a mag­i­cal time. Some of my fond­est mem­o­ries of Christ­mas are of Christ­mases when my fam­ily had very lit­tle – sim­ple toys I re­ceived as a child are still very clear in my mem­ory.

De­spite our dif­fi­cult times, there comes a mo­ment on Christ­mas Eve when the ho­li­ness and magic of Christ­mas fi­nally kicks in; when the shops and pubs are quiet and peo­ple greet each other in a whole new light on the dark­ened streets. The true sense of Christ­mas can at times be best recog­nised by what our chil­dren teach us. In their val­ues we can dis­cover some­thing of what God was telling us on that first Christ­mas when he ap­peared as the child Je­sus.

I pray the read­ers of your pa­per and their fam­i­lies will find that spirit and hope this Christ­mas and in 2009.

Arch­bishop Diar­muid Martin

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