In his homily for Christmas Day, Bishop Michael Smith reflected on the symbol of the Christmas tree.

“One of the universal symbols of Christmas is the tree illuminated by lights. In many place, just like here in Mullingar, the placing of lights on a public tree is linked to a charitable purpose.  It is a shedding of a little light on others meriting support.  Not only does Christmas present Christ as the light of the world, replacing the darkness with hope, it also invites each of us in our own way to bring some light into the many lives we touch, be it in family, work or community.  Even the smallest gesture of goodness illuminates the darkness left by greed and selfishness.

“The angels greeted the sheperds with words that we often find in the Gospels – ‘Do not be afraid’. Often we allow our fears to assume an importance in life that they do not merit., especially in contemplating the future.  Christmas, with its message of light and of faith is the very antithesis of fear.  It is a hope that finds its foundation in the true meaning of the words spoken by the angels -‘Today a Saviour has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord’.  May you have a happy celebration of Christmas over these days.”

Featured in the photo above, secondary school students Aoife and Daniel present the infant Jesus to Bishop Smith at the start of Midnight Mass in the Cathedral.