A very happy Christmas to you on this Christmas morning.
Christmas is at its heart a feast and a day where we try to appreciate again the initiative of God. So much of our lives are shaped around the initiatives that we take – what we strive to do, what we want to achieve.
But Christmas is actually about God’s initiative. God’s initiative from the very beginning in creating this world. God’s initiative in giving this world its astonishing beauty. And God’s initiative working through that long history of salvation, till his eternal Word takes on flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary and enters into our reality in the stable in Bethlehem.
So in front of this initiative of God, we first of all should be still. We should be full of wonder and awe as so many of the Christmas carols and songs remind us. On this day we should take such joy that God bothers about us, that God reaches out to us. That God doesn’t - as it were - stay at his eternal distance, but actually embraces our reality and each one of us.
While Christmas Day is an enormously busy day, one full of bustle and excitement, it’s so important and so worthwhile to try and give it a silent heart, a quiet heart. Because it's from that quiet appreciation of God’s love for us that our real joy and our real celebration will flow like an enormous river.
I really want to wish you a very very happy Christmas with a happiness that comes from that source as we respond to the initiative of God who first comes to us - long before we think we might ever reach out to God.
For your family and those around you who you love, a very happy Christmas. Please don’t forget Christmas Alone. I hope that maybe through your home or church there will also be an effort today that those who are alone and wish to come and join in something are given that opportunity. Then they too may experience through us the reaching out of God who wants us to come close to him and draw us to himself, into the community of the church so that we may praise him with a full heart and voice.
May God bless you all!
Cardinal Vincent Nichols is Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. His latest book is Hope in Action (SPCK). The Cardinal's Christmas address will be broadcast on Premier Christian Radio at 08:30am on Christmas Day. Listen live at premierchristianradio.com
Hear our interview with Cardinal Vincent Nichols on Premier Christian Radio’s 'The Profile' at 4:30pm on Saturday 6 January 2018, or download the podcast at premierchristianradio.com/theprofile