Moderator’s Christmas message

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In his Christmas Message, Dr. Ian McNie, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, has urged us to show Christ’s love and compassion, especially to those who may find Christmas a particularly lonely time of year.

“At our residential home Adelaide House in south Belfast I met two wonderful ladies recently, one was 102 and the other was 105,” he said.

Each knew companionship and the love of family and the staff who care for them. As I drove home, I was reminded that many people of all ages experience the very opposite, and perhaps more deeply at this time of year,” Dr. McNie, the Minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney said.

In his Message, the Moderator writes, “Christmas is a time for visiting friends and spending time with our families. Yet for some, Christmas can also be a particularly lonely time, not just for the refugee far from home, or the homeless person living rough on our streets, but for people we may know - those coping with bereavement, an older person living alone next door, or a young person connected to the virtual world, but isolated in the real one.

“As Christians we are called to love our neighbour, welcome the stranger and care for those in need. Christmas time gives us an additional opportunity to express that love through practical acts of kindness, thoughtfulness and appreciation to those whom we know and those who have no one else to care for them.

Dr. McNie reminds Christians that as God’s children we are called to love our neighbour, provide for their practical needs and their spiritual wellbeing too. He also explains that while the first Christmas heralded the arrival of the Messiah, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provided “a pardon for the past, leading to peace in the present and hope for the future. All who become children of God can claim this assurance.”

Dr. McNie concludes by saying, “As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember those who don’t know the blessing of companionship, those who feel isolated or forgotten and resolve with love and compassion to act.

“And as we are reminded of God’s great love for us in sending his Son, may each of us ask ourselves the question, have I become a child of God? For the cradle is a pointer to the cross,” he said.