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December 13th 2006

Stephen and Jim admire the decorations on the Christmas Tree in the Magee Shop

Christmas And New Year Greetings To All Our Readers

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OPINION As we go through our lives, the years slip by more and more quickly. We tend to sub-divide time into different segments, whether by season, family milestones, holidays or feast days. Sometimes it feels we are wishing our lives away, awaiting the next ‘occasion’ - instead of living the moment.
But in the Christian calendar there is one ‘moment’ that we all genuinely celebrate. We have already entered the festive holiday period, in the middle of which falls Christmas Day – the day on which the baby Jesus was born in the manger of a stable in Bethlehem.
Over the two millenniums since, much has changed. In parts of our world, the standard of living has never been better, in others – never worse. Unfortunately our planet is divided into ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Partly this is caused by natural environmental reasons, but not always. Sadly, this earth is populated by many men of power who have consistently abused their considerable authority to create misery and anguish. Some of the countries we looked up to and trusted most in the recent past are now among those most guilty in this respect.
But we do not have to travel long distances to find poverty and unhappiness. Voluntary groups, who do great work in every parish of Ireland, can point to these states of despair all around us.
For most of our people, Christmas is a season of excitement and expectancy. Families come together, presents are dispensed, ceremonies attended - and everybody radiates goodwill towards their fellow man.
And that is how it should be – most of us have plenty. We bask in family, we bask in the warm feeling of having those we love close to us, we bask in stories told, games played, drinks consumed and dinners eaten. We talk by phone to those who could not make it home and exchange stories of the day’s experiences.
But maybe, before we dive into this frenetic activity, we should pause a little. All the high expectancy can create disappointment – for all the plenty, there is lack. Let us take stock and remember that religion is really charity. How about allocating a part of our goodies - and ourselves, to someone not so lucky.
In our own area of South Donegal, there is poverty and despair – there is loneliness. We cannot eliminate these – but we can offer some alleviation. At this time of plenty, let us share some of our material possessions – or even ourselves - to make life a little brighter for someone who hasn’t a lot – or maybe just wants some company. Then, genuinely, can we say we have entered into the true spirit of Christmas.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-74-9722860 Fax: +353-74-9722937


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