Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, has published his Christmas message for 2016, saying, ‘At Christmas, God comes to us as a child, vulnerable, wordless, dependant and he evokes a love from us that is free, faithful and joyful.’
In his message, Archbishop Neary highlighted the importance of family at Christmas saying, ‘Christmas is very much a family time. In a busy world family can easily be neglected. Time spent with family is very important to keep us mindful of our roots, our faith and the values which we have inherited. A special welcome to those who have travelled long distances to be with their family this Christmas. In the West of Ireland where we have experienced high levels of emigration we are delighted to be joined by our exiles from overseas.’
He continued, ‘There was no room for Jesus at the Inn on Christmas night, for the homeless in our society this is their sad experience. In many ways this is a reflection on our society and it presents us with an urgent challenge which we cannot ignore.
‘We learn our own identity by reflecting on and retelling the story of Christmas. In a sophisticated world we need to approach Christmas with a child-like simplicity and ensure that in the midst of the hustle and bustle we will create space and time for Jesus Christ in our hearts and homes this Christmas. In this season of goodwill we have an opportunity to re-connect, reach out and visit neighbours for whom this may be a difficult, lonely and anxious time.’
The Archbishop concluded his message by saying, ‘May the peace and joy which he brought to our world enable us to live as people who have hope in our hearts. This will enable and encourage us to light a candle of hope in what, for many, may be a dark world.’