The lights and decorations canopying the streets throughout the city have been turned on for over a week now. Chandeliers and garlands twinkle over shoppers. Shop displays create fairytale landscapes of frost and snow. Mince pies, Christmas cakes, mulled wine, brie cheese and cranberries become more and more tempting by the day. An extravagant season is upon us infusing the cold, dark winter with a month promising warmth, luxury, joy and hope.
Nollaig Shona Duit
That’s what Baile Átha Cliath is wishing us to all over the city! Isn’t that just so lovely … an Irish greeting at Christmas? Without translation it enters the ambiguous realm of “peace on earth, good will towards men” that angels sing. Both greetings create a sense of festivity and comfort – words that can be repeated without a heart knowledge and yet resonate as good things to say. At any other time of year, without the help of all things glittery, they might not make sense without having them tucked away in the heart somewhere. But in December they come alive!
Peace on earth – it isn’t a pretty line invented to be used once a year in a world wide appeal for a global community that cares for one another. Good will towards men – it isn’t a statement of moral conscience. They are declarations of what God, and God alone, can do when he comes and lives with us. It is the reason for a Happy and Merry Christmas. Christ has come to bring peace and do good for us and in us.
A sense of “home” comes when these words take on a heart meaning. We are no longer tourists passing under the Christmas lights.