From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS3243 Archbishop Robin Eames' Christmas Message

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Tue, 24 Dec 2002 00:23:53 -0000

ACNS 3243     |     IRELAND	|     23 DECEMBER 2002

Archbishop Robin Eames' Christmas Message

The Most Reverend Dr Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of

The Christian message of Christmas speaks of joy, hope, peace and

Those words have become synonymous over the years with the pleas for peace
and stability in Northern Ireland. We have prayed for joy and confidence
across the traditional boundaries of our community : we have desperately
sought for reasons of hope in the darkness of our divisions  and we have
prayed for a peace which would last. They are also words which speak to the
basic longings of society throughout Ireland, north and south.

The birth of Christ brings all those longings together in the divine moment
of God's intervention in the affairs of this world. The innocence of those
first cries of a vulnerable baby seem far away from the uncertainties of a
divided community  an island of need as well as plenty. They seem far away
from the profound anguish of the wider world  a world facing the threat of
war, a world of starvation and poverty and a world in which the innocence of
children is constantly abused. They seem far away from the secular 'spend
spend' madness of these days before Christmas.

Yet the eternal truth of the Christian message of Bethlehem calls us back to
the basic facts which can make sense out of it all. Those characteristics of
the best that human nature can grasp - love, truth, understanding and
compassion  those are the basics upon which the best of life depends. Above
and beyond the least which life presents the Babe of Bethlehem calls us to
find a dimension to our lives when good is stronger than evil, compassion
stronger than selfishness and love stronger than hatred.

That is the hope Christians are called to welcome this Christmas  and are
called to share with the world.

There is so much to be thankful for in Ireland this Christmas. But there is
so much which calls for our compassion, courage and vision. The stable at
Bethlehem is a reminder that to gaze in wonder is one thing  to respond to
the wonder in lives of love and outreach across our community is a moral
imperative for those who hear the words:

"Emmanuel - God with us"

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