Belfast Telegraph

Church leaders deliver Christmas messages

Christian leaders highlight time to think of others

‘Kindness can help light up a person’s life’

Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Alan Harper

A personal culture of kindness needs to be reclaimed in modern society. A kind word and a kind gesture can go a long way to making the lives of hard-pressed people bearable. It can light up a life and it says: “I'm someone, not no one.

“I count in the eyes of someone else.”

Christmas 2011 would be a good time to work on building a personal culture of kindness.

The real news of Christmas is of people being valued for their intrinsic worth, and not for their purchasing power.

Christmas 2011 would also be a good time to focus more directly on the things which bring satisfaction.

Such things are embraced in the word ‘friendship’, and revisiting your essential humanity, rather than opting to be a digitised slave in a virtual world.

‘I hope we can all rediscover Christian love’

Catholic Cardinal Sean Brady

People are yearning for a gentler, kinder and more generous world, the kind of world that Christmas represents. This is my hope and prayer that each of us will rediscover the simplicity, hope and joy of that first Christmas. I pray that Ireland will become a gentler, kinder, more compassionate, more caring and more neighbourly place.

As Ireland prepares for the major 50th International Eucharistic Congress in June next year, people who have become disconnected from their parish because of hurt, anger or disillusionment will rediscover the love at the heart of the Christian faith.

‘Hardship may make us little bit less selfish’

The Methodist President, the Reverend Ian Henderson

During the years of boom it seemed that people could have anything, whether they could afford it or not. Now, with the economic downturn, we have all had to grow up a little, especially in our spending habits and perhaps in the process reducing the level of selfishness in our thinking.

Is it not a time to ask ourselves what we really need, and perhaps, more importantly, to ask what others really need that they won't be able to afford?

Perhaps we can help others in our community, even if it is only to offer friendship, support and a listening ear to those who are on their own.

‘God’s words not just for decoration’

The Presbyterian Moderator, the Rt Revd Dr Ivan Patterson

The modern world has so domesticated Jesus that people have lost sight of the fact that “He is the Almighty among us”.

We can choose to have God's Word as a decoration wrapped in plenty of tinsel, or as a Saviour surrounded with grace and love. We can let contemporary standards shape our character or we can let Him, and that goes for those inside as well as outside the Church.

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