Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal's Christmas reflection: 'Destined for eternal glory'

A Christmas reflection by Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Advent and Christmas fill my mind with so many words and images.

I think of the shepherd fields of Bethlehem, dusty and rocky, in the shadow of the prosperous and well-supplied Israeli settlements.

I think of millions of children born into searing poverty, particularly those living in refugee camps and those without basic amenities.

I think about 'the coming of our God' who chose similar circumstances for his taking up the flesh of our humanity.

I think about the angels whose glorious appearance would certainly have won them four straight tens!

But my mind stays with the image of that wondrous birth, so often portrayed in art, in music and poetry.

Here is a simple phrase to ponder: we are indeed dust of the earth, but dust destined for eternal glory! Yes, Jesus enfolds himself in the dust of our humanity. But he opens for us the royal road by which our dust attains its fullest purpose. The child born in poverty will rise again in glory. And we who bow in humble adoration will be carried by him to that same fulfilment.

Yes, the roads we travel are long and often arduous. But he is indeed Emmanuel, the one who walks with us, never leaving our side and carrying us home.

Come, let us adore him.

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