|"Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem" by Kristoffer Trolle is licensed under CC BY 2.0|
This extraordinarily difficult year is drawing to a close, a year marked by much loneliness, despair, suffering and death, due to the pandemic. But we have learned some lessons, including valuing what we have hitherto taken for granted, and appreciating with new awareness so many of the simple gifts which God provides.
But the greatest gift is the one we celebrate in the Nativity of Our Lord. The great Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner summed it up:
"When we say it is Christmas, we mean that God has spoken into the world his last, his deepest, his most beautiful word in the incarnate Word, a word that can no longer be revoked because it is God's definitive deed, because it is God himself in the world. And this word means 'I love you, you, the world and humankind'.
So we celebrate God who is with us in the world, Emmanuel. Our response is a renewed love for all, and a new delight in the good things of this world which God provides for us.
To all the clergy and people of this Diocese in Europe, my thanks for your support and collaboration over this past year, and together with friends and readers of this blog I wish you a Christmas full of blessing. Wherever you are, I pray you will be able to celebrate this glorious feast safely and with joy.