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A Christmas message from Bishop Alan

As we prepare to celebrate the Christmas Season I send my warmest greetings to you all! I hope that it will be a time of great blessing for you and your families, writes Bishop Alan.

In the Christmas Gospel we read about the journeys of various people – that of Mary and Joseph to take part in the census in Bethlehem; that of the shepherds from the fields where they watch their sheep to the stable where they find the innocent Lamb of God; and that of the wise men from the East, following the star to the Incarnate Word from whom all wisdom flows.

We too come to celebrate this awesome season after a journey but a journey in time. It has been another year of ups and downs, events both predictable and surprising, both in the public sphere and in our own individual lives.

Sometimes these events don't seem to make sense on their own. Sometimes we can live as if these events are just a series of random occurrences that fill up days and weeks and months.

Christmas reminds us that our lives have an inherent direction. They are set along certain lines and the things that happen to us are subtle signs of God's providence, all of which in some way point us to the stable. "Only in the mystery of the incarnate Worddoesthe mystery ofmantake on light" (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes 22).

We understand our lives ' its joys and its losses ' only when we look at the joys and sorrows of the life of Christ, who came to take on our flesh and to give us a share in his divinity.

May this Christmas be a chance for us to discover anew the mystery of the stable. May you find yourself always walking with Jesus Christ as your destination. And may the grace brought by the Christ child, through Mary, be the source of your peace and joy in the New Year ahead.

With my good wishes and blessing,

Bishop Alan