Christmas essentially about people
CATHOLIC Bishop of Rockhampton Brian Heenan has delivered the following Christmas message for the festive season.
Christmas 2010, what is it all about?
We might say, just another end-of-the-year celebration and a reminder that yet another year is about to begin. Yet, I believe it is much more than that. Every Christmas is different and I would hope that it is even better than the last.
Why do I say that? Because Christmas is essentially about people, our family, our friends and all people with whom our lives are entangled. Our relationships are ever-changing and there has to be something exciting about that.
One of the beautiful things about Christmas is that most people focus on others, making connections, sending greetings, getting together to strengthen the bonds of love. Many people think of others less fortunate as we know through support for St Vincent de Paul, Lifeline, Anglicare, the Salvation Army and those often unknown groups who band together to put on Christmas dinner for their homeless or disadvantaged sisters and brothers.
Our Australian experience makes us one of the most blessed peoples in the whole world and we should be always thankful. Yet, it also tends to make us self-centred and look for all the comforts of life, even beyond the essentials. I believe Christmas pulls us up to think outside ourselves, to those who look for our support. That includes everyone who is denied dignity, respect or love.
Christmas is often thought of as being a ‘gift-giving’ time and that is its very origin. It was initially about God being the gift giver, sending His own Son as the unlikely gift, found in a humble stable in an unknown place called Bethlehem. It was also so unexpected, all wrong, so it seemed, that Jesus the Christ should be born in such circumstances.
Yet, there is the message: God came in the person of Jesus in simple surroundings, without a palace or trumpets blaring. It is surely a sign that Jesus’ birth was what was important, not the way it happened.
Millions have come to meet Jesus, to adore him as God and to walk with Him as a brother and friend.
Among the many invitations Jesus issued was: “As you would like people to treat you, so you should treat them”.
It was Martin Luther King who said: “The way you begin to change the world is through service”.
May you and I change the world by reaching out in service, as did Jesus throughout His life.
May I wish all our Morning Bulletin readers a truly happy Christmas, one that is enriched by strengthened relationships and a New Year enhanced by hope and excitement for all that lies ahead.