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By Msgr Joe McGrath

This is probably the most frequently asked question in the days after Christmas. Surely the most astonishing question to be asked of a Christian!

It implies that the Christmas period has been a burden, a time to be

dreaded and so a time to be banished from our thoughts as soon as possible; a kin to asking “How did you over the ‘flu?!

All that can be justified if Christmas is viewed and understood from a particular stand point – that Christmas is purely a materialistic event consisting totally of stressful shopping, extravagant present giving, endless partying, tiresome visiting and over-indulging at every turn. Certainly those experiences necessitate a period of recovery. If that is what Christmas is for me, then I will need time to ‘GET OVER IT”

That is not to say that all the above activities have no place in the celebration of Christmas. All, in due measure,have a part to play of course. They enable us to gather and express in very normal, natural ways with family, friends and parish, our joy at something marvellous that has happened to us - A CHILD IS BORN TO US;


GOD’S WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US. And it is the consequence of that event that is the cause of our joy – that WE WILL LIVE FOREVER MORE BECAUSE OF CHRISTMAS DAY.

This baby grew into a man who “WENT AROUND DOING GOOD”;

His enemies even admitted that He spoke like no one else did. He fearlessly challenged the injustices in society; He stood by the poor; He sided with the marginalised and eventually gave His life that we might have the power to live fully human lives. Rather than following a self-centred, selfish existence, we would flourish in a life-style based on His example.

But not only did He propose such a way of life and practise it, He obtained for us the power to attempt it.

Through His Resurrection He is available to us at all times- no longer limited by time or confined by space. “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS”.

If we take Him at His word, He will reward our faith. Nothing spectacular should be expected but He will quietly show us a way of dealing with our problems,; solutions we would never think of, if left to ourelves.

That is the joy of Christmas – the certainty of the presence of Jesus as a support in all aspects of our lives. If we listen to Him in prayer, He will show us His way.

He became one of us so that we might become more like Him.


In that sense I hope neither you, nor I, nor anyone else will ever



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