Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
“I remember many years ago in the winter of 1966 – a terrible winter – I was to say Mass on Christmas morning in a disused Territorial Army hut and it was absolutely freezing. I was in the sacristy; blue with cold and there were about 80 people there (so cold that an old woman handed me a hot water bottle to put under my vestments). Anyway, we went out and I said the Mass and even though everybody was bitterly cold and the windows were broken – the wind came in and there was snow outside – somehow it was the most beautiful, warm, reverent celebration that I think I’ve ever had at Christmas. Christmas is not just about fun and presents – about eating and drinking well – it’s about something much deeper.
“We talk about the joy of Christmas – joy is an interior thing, joy comes from a reflection about hope; about being cared for, about a loving God, about somehow being able to be quiet and to realise the blessings that we have – especially us Christians – knowing that we are in the presence of God who cares for us – God who holds us in the palm of His hand.
“The reason why Jesus came at Christmas time, we are told, was to bring us peace – peace of mind and peace of heart. And above all Jesus came to reveal the most wonderful fact about our faith – that God is a personal God. Jesus reveals him as a God of mercy and love. A God of Mercy because Jesus, His name means Saviour, to save us from our weakness, our sinfulness, our poverty. A God of love – before we can love, we know that we are loved by God. These truths permeate our hearts and make Christmas such a special time.
“I want quite simply today to reflect on the Incarnation, that mystery that God became man – God became one of us in the poverty and storms of life in order to share this life with us and to give us hope for eternity.
“I want to wish you all a very happy and holy Christmas.”