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Christmas message 2019 from the Bishop of Paisley

I wonder if you, like me, enjoy the prayers in our Christmas Masses in this festive season.

After the long watching of the Advent season and, finally, all is at last made manifest, we can now enjoy the great promise in which we dared to hope.

Then, praying the prayers of the Christmas Liturgies, we find ourselves caught up in the marvel of the Bethlehem scene with Mary, Joseph and the newborn Messiah, below the choir of angels, accompanied by the shepherds and alongside the stable animals.

As we peer into its curiosity the prayers raise our minds to the astonishing truth of it all: In the wonder of the incarnation Your eternal Word has brought to the eyes of faith a new and radiant vision of Your glory. In Him we see our God made visible, and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.

It is so much to take in that the Liturgy allows us Twelve Days of Christmas to savour the astonishing truth of what interrupted our human history two thousand years ago in the arrival of that tiny Child.

The liturgy of the Feast of Saint Stephen, on the day after Christmas day, reflects upon how God took on human form so that we would not need to go look for Him in temples of stone but find Him very near in warm flesh and blood like our own. The Feast of John the Evangelist contemplates the sheer wonder of the Incarnation where God comes so close to us that we can even touch Him with our hands and see Him with our eyes. The Feast of the Holy Innocents surprises us that the wonder of this great grace is resisted from the outset by the powers of this world who cannot, in the end, steal the victory that belongs to the Christ Child.

I hope you can find some time and space in these days just to contemplate the spectacle of the Manger and realise how much God loved the world, and you, that He would send His Only Son to be our Saviour. Together with Mary, I hope you can treasure and ponder it in your heart and, like the shepherds, glorify and praise God for all you see.

May God bless you and yours this Christmas and keep you safe to prosper in the New Year.

+John Keenan
Bishop of Paisley

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