Christmas Message from the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson

The word ‘confinement’ has taken on a new horror as we learn of the scandal of transportation worldwide being the vehicle of human trafficking. We are brought face to face with its premeditation and its calculation and its deadly outcome. What we see we know. And what we know we cannot unknow. We are rightly appalled. Confinement meets us in its raw brutality as we approach Christmas 2019.

We look for a space of hope in a world of over-communication and under-compassion. We look for a space of love in a world of increasing racism and deepening truthlessness. We look for a space of faith in a world where meaning and perspective have become very self-centred. Faith, hope and love are part of the rhythm of humanity whatever our belief.

Into this world, now as then, Christians believe there comes the child of Bethlehem. We celebrate Christmas year by year and place by place. The child of Bethlehem is honoured by millions of people far beyond the confines of the church. As the disciples are told after the resurrection: There is no point looking for Jesus here, he is gone ahead of you into Galilee. Christianity is about movement, about journeying, about partnership.

Christians are called to move forward in the world not for themselves but for others. Christians are called to challenge confinement and to break down walls of exclusion for others to flourish. Christians are called to make the connection between faith and earth, between theology and ecology, constructing common cause with those who challenge confinement and usher in freedom. This is where we will find Jesus Christ today.

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