Christmas Wishes from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR

The bright lights of Christmas trees and the merry sounds of carols encourage us to think of Christmas as a season of good cheer – and there are solid grounds for this. At the heart of Christmas is the wonderful news that God has drawn near to us in the birth of the child Jesus. And yet, as we reflect on our world today, we find many sorrows mingled with the Christmas joy.

Among the sorrows is that of millions of refugees who have been driven from their homes by wars in various parts of the globe. There is homelessness too in Australia and in our own diocese of Ballarat. The staff of Centacare, are also aware of other problems that people face, as individuals struggling with personal issues or as families trying to cope with the pressures of life. Christmas invites us to renew our efforts to provide whatever help we can to those weighed down by such burdens.

Through this past year, even as you have been helping others, you might have had your own sorrows to bear. You might have had your own times of sadness. Whatever tears this year may have brought, I hope this Christmas will bring us all a measure of good cheer – not just through the presents we might receive or the festive meals we might enjoy, but also through the kindness we share with those around us and the glad tidings we hear at this season, the glad tidings that God has come among us to share our lives. In the midst of the problems that beset us, these are indeed tidings of comfort and joy. I wish you a blessed Christmas.

Paul Bird CSsR

Bishop of Ballarat