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‘Invite Him into the manger of your heart.’ Archbishop Fisher’s Christmas message 2023

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Our favourite Christmas carols sing of peace on earth and goodwill to all, a promise of hope for our world.

Yet at the close of this year, these songs do not seem to match our reality. Instead of peace, we hear daily of war. Instead of goodwill, we witness man’s inhumanity to man.

Instead of hope, we see despair, as people worry about war, climate, making ends meet.

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Christmas can seem like a fairytale: a nice story we tell our children and ourselves, but one not based in reality, not speaking to contemporary problems.

But the Christmas story is true! The God who created the universe really did come from heaven as a newborn.

Pope Benedict XVI said God came as the vulnerable newborn Jesus so we would not be overwhelmed, not afraid to draw close to Him.

God became one of us to share in our humanity: not just our joys, but our sorrows as well; not just our hopes but our fears and anxieties.

Christmas reminds us that God knows the brokenness of the world: He has experienced poverty and homelessness, danger and flight as a refugee, loss and grief first hand.

He has heard the cries of the broken heart, the silent sufferings you think no one notices or cares about. He wants to be with you in those anxieties.

But He will not leave you there in your troubles! Jesus’ birth broke through the darkness of that winter night, with a star that shone so brightly, it proclaimed the prince of peace to wise men in a faraway land.

It broke through the silence and indifference, with angelic songs of glory to God and peace to people.

Just as He did 2000 years ago, God wants to bring light into the darkness in your world and your heart. He wants to sing a song of peace into the silence of your pain.

He loves you so much, He wants to draw near to you. This Christmas, give Him permission to come close. Invite Him into the manger of your heart.

May God bless you and your loved ones with Christmas peace and hope.

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