Christmas Message 2019
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, every year has its mixture of good and bad. Every year has its various successes and failures. Each year has its number of unexpected and unnerving events, as well as its deep joys and successes.
2019 is no different. For many it has been a tough year. Back in February this year our Diocese seemed to be ringed by bushfires in places around Bunyip, Churchill and Dargo. In late November, it seemed as if the whole country was on fire. Some of our people are facing a challenging new year.
Things feel a little fragile right now for some: the economy is tight; there is not much of a social security net; jobs are under major threat in the Latrobe Valley and in our timber country; some of our young people are uncertain about their future.
While we know that uncertainty and the unforeseen are to be expected in our lives, it leaves us a little unsettled.
And then into this uncertainty once again, as it does each year, comes Advent and Christmas. A reminder that the kind of God we have is a God who first comes to us; a God who is not only God for us, but God with us; a God who reminds us that we are not alone.
At Christmas the One who is our light comes into our lives. The prophet Isaiah tells us that the ‘people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. On those who dwell in the valley of death a light has shone.” This is our story as well.
Our joy at Christmas is not simply the celebration of another birthday. It celebrates that we have someone who is our Light; One who can show us the path of life; One whose light accompanies us especially in the darkness.
If Christ is that for us then Christmas also challenges us to become that Light in our world.
At Christmas we see in the child born in Bethlehem a God who comes in search of us; a God who is our true Light, a God who teaches us that we are not alone. It shows us that we have someone upon whom we can lean.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, may Christmas 2019 be a time of great peace, trust and forgiveness, for you and your families and friends. May we rediscover Jesus Christ our true light, a light that is always there. God is good, good indeed.
Bishop Patrick O’Regan