Christmas Reflection

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago”.

The words of this well known carol were written by Christina Rosetti in the late nineteenth century as a Christmas poem. The poem was later set to music by Gustav Holst.


During these past few weeks of December 2010 we have been experiencing the reality of a bleak midwinter, with this cold frosty weather, and the weeks of snow falling on snow. We experience it too as our country faces a Christmas which will be very different, for many, from the Christmases of the Celtic Tiger, when there was such concentration on the material that the real message of Christmas was all but forgotten.

Rosetti wrote that

“In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ”.

Yesterday, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, during Mass in our parish Church, the curate spoke of the extraordinary generosity of people at this time. In spite of the recession a collection taken up by the St. Vincent de Paul Society the previous week was UP €2,000 on last year’s collection.

In the evening, at the Carol Service in Carlow Cathedral, people were sitting on the steps of the choir loft as there were no seats to be had in the main body of the Cathedral. The presider spoke of his delight at seeing so many present – there had been a feeling that because of the desperately cold night there might be no one at the Carol Service!

It seems that in spite of everything – the cold, the Recession, the difficult times and serious challenges the Church is facing – the message of Christmas is still rooted in our hearts. The Christmas story still calls us together to pray, and to recall the miracle of the baby born in Bethlehem “long ago”. God’s Love is touching us and teaching us, once again, to share what we can with others.

Rosetti asked:

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart”.

In each of our CEIST schools students, teachers and parents are making huge efforts to mark Christmas by undertaking fundraising, or filling hampers, for those in need at this time of the year.

To all of you, whatever form your generosity has taken, we wish you a very Happy Christmas and blessings throughout 2011.

“The time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn”. Luke 2:7