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A Christmas Wish

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 Contents - Dec 2013AD2000 December 2013 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: A Christmas Wish - Peter Westmore
Pope Francis to canonise John Paul II and John XXIII next April - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Obituary: Cardinal Pell's tribute to Bishop William Brennan - Cardinal George Pell
Benedict XVI corresponds with an atheist mathematician - Joseph Trabbic
Inspirational Young Men of God retreat - Br Barry Coldrey
Catechesis and liturgy: an unbreakable bond - Bishop Arthur Serratelli
Schools: Catholic school education: returning to our roots - Paul McCormack
Christifidelis Laici: vocation and mission of the lay faithful (1) - Anne Lastman
Christifidelis Laici: vocation and mission of the lay faithful (2) - Anne Lastman
Letters: Morality of contraception - John Ramsey
Letters: Right of conscience - Marian Grima
Letters: Errors - Peter D. Howard
Letters: Availability of RU486 - Owen Charles
Books: HOLY SEE, UNHOLY ME by Tim Fischer - John Barich (reviewer)
Books: POPE FRANCIS: The Pope from the End of the Earth, by Thomas J. Craughwell - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Fighting Fund: Progress on 2013 Fighting Fund - Peter Westmore
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Benedict XVI's Christmas homily: 'Make room for God' - Benedict XVI

As we come to the end of another busy year, the commemoration of the birth of Christ comes as a shining beacon of hope to a world which is too often cynical and disillusioned, or preoccupied with material possessions.

When we reflect on the event itself, the birth of a Jewish baby boy in a stable in a remote corner of the Roman empire then the most powerful empire the world had ever seen it is humanly impossible to believe that in that moment, the world as it had existed since man first stood on earth, was changed forever. Yet so it was.

In St Luke's infancy narrative, we are introduced into the extraordinary paradoxes of Jesus' birth.

His birth in Bethlehem was not noticed by the Romans who were busy registering people for a new tax, nor by the Roman-appointed King Herod, but by poor shepherds who slept with their flocks in the fields at night, and had witnessed the coming of a legion of angels who announced to them His coming.

A short time later, Herod heard of the birth of a new king from the Magi, mysterious but influential religious figures who came from a distant country to the east, perhaps from Persia.

The Magi, sometimes called the "wise men", believed that a new astronomical event called by Luke a star foretold the rise of a new king of Israel. When they told Herod what they had seen, he undoubtedly believed them, and consulted with the leaders of the Jewish faith as to where the Messiah was to be born. Luke tells us that the visit of the Magi caused consternation in Jerusalem.

On being advised that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, Herod sent the Magi to the town, and asked them to return to Jerusalem to tell him where the child was to be found, so that he too could worship Him.

When the Magi did not return, Luke tells us that Herod had every newborn child under the age of two then living in Bethlehem murdered, to prevent any threat to his throne. The massacre of the innocents is repeated today in our own society, in the sterile operating theatres of the abortionists.

And yet that apparently inconspicuous birth in Bethlehem changed the world ... and changed us forever. Let us celebrate it, and reflect on it.

Peter Westmore is publisher of AD2000.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 26 No 11 (December 2013 - January 2014), p. 2

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