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Donnybrook Parish

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Donnybrook Parish

birth of jesusWhile Christmas is the birthday of Jesus, that may or may not be what we are celebrating. In countries where Christian faith is the root of our culture, many who are no longer believers, no longer Christian, still celebrate Christmas.

Christmas tugs at the heart. It lures us into its spirit. What is it that draws us? Is it just memory, memory of childhood and Christmases past? Is it nostalgia for a world that once was but is no more? Why are presents and presence, giving gifts and being with others, being grateful and belonging so much part of this time of year?  Attending to what is going on in our minds and hearts, reflecting on what we are doing and why, is one of the most precious gifts of Christmas. Christmas invites us to listen.

While Christmas may no longer be for many the celebration of the birth of the Saviour, Jesus, Christmas testifies to our yearning to belong, to be someone to somebody, to give and to receive, for communion of life. Christmas draws us in to something fundamental about ourselves, however dimly perceived, that is worth our attention. If we really listen, we will hear the song of the mystery of love at the heart of life, a love that we have tasted in Christmases past, the ground of all that is; the good news that we are, loved, delighted in, adored and that our love and service of God and one another is desired, necessary, appreciated.

Our joy at the birth of our children, our joy at the bonds that for ever tie us to one another in our families, are a pale shadow of the joy of God in each of us, revealed in the face of the Christ child. God the Father is saying to us in gift of the Christ Child, see how much I love you, delight in you, adore you. Jesus Christ has said it in the mystery of the Cross. Children know it.  Grown-ups can grow away from it or deny it, because of disappointments we have experienced, the choices we have made or because we have been scandalised by others who represented the Church, or maybe just because we have got distracted. Christmas calls us back to a truth we knew as children.

Each Christmas is an invitation that has gone out from the heart of all life to all within life, attend to the mystery of life, to my love for you. It is not a once a year invitation, but a reminder of the invitation renewed each day we wake. We need to attend. We need to belong. We need to belong to a community of faith. Attending and belonging keeps us attuned to the heartbeat of life and enables us to hear the invitation amid the noise and demands of every day. That is what parish and Church are for. But it is only together that Church and parish can be as they should be. Every absence dilutes the sign, until it no longer speaks.

Isn’t it good to be together celebrating?

If you live in the parish but are not registered with us, please do so.   

It is together that we bring to one another the gift of Jesus, the gift of God’s delight in us and The Way to be together in the presence of God.   

The appeal of Christmas is expressed in a poem called ‘The Listener’.

Despise me now, quickening spirit.

Do not bundle me away as if I were yesterday.

Make me tomorrow again, with an onrush of hope.

This is as much as I would ask: only that you listen.