Lots of houses have now been decorated and the annual journals are in the shops so it must be near Christmas. Congratulations to both the Athea and BRJ editors on their fine publications. I always look forward to reading them. It is good to see them continuing year after year.

Christmas can be as stressful as it can be happy depending on our situation and mood but one of the positive things about this time of year is that in 10 days time the shortest day will have passed and our evenings will be lengthening again. This is a very hopeful sign and can bring cheer to lots of people who hate the long dark nights. And of course we all look forward to Santa Claus who continues to come in spite of all obstacles.

Christmas Eve Mass will be in Ballyhahill at 8.30 pm and on Christmas day at 10.00 am.

I was looking up the meaning for the Advent Wreath which is in all Churches during Advent and share what I found. The symbolism of light overcoming darkness is at the very heart of the symbolism of the Advent Wreath. The 1st candle, which is purple, reminds us of the period of time from Creation to the coming of Christ. The 2nd candle, another purple one represents John the Baptist. The 3rd candle, which is pink, represents Mary who played a special role in the preparation for the coming of Jesus. The 4th candle, purple again, represents us. It is our hope and prayer that the light of the world will come into our hearts. The 5th candle, white, represents Jesus himself. The holly represents the thorns and are symbols of His Passion. The laurel is the symbol of His victory over sin and death. The red ribbon is a reminder of God’s love sealed for us with the blood of His Son.

Congratulations to Lisa and Diarmaid Daly who are home from Perth and who christened their 2nd child, a little girl called Ayda, in Ballyhahill on last Sunday. Ayda’s brother Noah is enjoying seeing all his family in Ireland.

Welcome home to Paudie Cummane from Korea who is one of the many expected home in the area for Christmas.