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Christmas reflection: Reaching the end of the Advent journey

"ARE we there yet?" is the oft-heard cry of the child in the car eager to arrive at the family's destination.

We have arrived at the end of our Advent journey, gathering before the crib created long ago by Saint Francis of Assisi reminding us that God chose to be born among the poor.

As we gaze with the children towards the babe in the manger, enjoying their expressions of wonder and awe, we can pray that the message of peace on earth and God's all-embracing care for the human family will sink deeper roots into our hearts and make their future safer.

As the poet Howard Thurman writes, "When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks the work of Christmas begins; to find the lost, to heal the broken to feed the hungry, to release the captive, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart."

Fr Paul Clayton-Lea

Archdiocese of Armagh

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