Less than three months ago, a bit like Mary and Joseph I wandered into a small village, not in the hill country of Juda but in the county of Clare. While given a similar mission of helping to make Jesus present in this faith community, I can thankfully say that my experience has been radically different to that of Mary and Joseph’s in Bethlehem. Instead of finding no room at the Inn, I have experienced nothing but welcome. Instead of depending on mandated visitors like Shepherds and Wise Men calling to see me, so many of you have come of your own accord to welcome me into this Community. The gifts of friendship, support and encouragement that I have received since coming to the Newmarket on Fergus Parish far outweigh gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. For this and so much more I wish to say thank you. I hope that in some small way my presence among you will enable Jesus to be born again in your hearts, in your homes and in this parish. There is no doubting that these are difficult times as we continue to struggle with the pandemic. But like the first Christmas celebrated in a stable, we must trust that while not ideal, and not what we planned for, celebrating another Christmas in the midst of a pandemic, the message of Christmas still rings true. “God is with us”. May you and your families experience the blessing of Christ’s presence this Christmas and may God protect us all in the year ahead.
Nollaig shona daoibh go léir