The one who walked on water.
The one whose birthday we are about to celebrate.

There is no getting away from it. Christmas is definitely coming. And definitely in the next few days. They tried but didn’t manage to postpone it. The date, the winter solstice in the Roman calendar,  has been a very special one for thousands of years. It is a day that has changed the world every year, again and again. And no matter what happens, the world will not change it.

The celebration of the birth of Jesus is, of course, a celebration of a new beginning.

That new beginning has never been needed more urgently than today.

It took Jesus about 30 years before he managed to cross the Sea of Galilee on foot. It’s a lot to ask, but we will need a bit of that approach in the coming year.

It is the first time ever that attendance at Christmas Day mass was contingent on winning a seat in a parish-wide lottery. I need a sign.

A lot has been happening in Pádraig’s and in my life in the past week.

Last night we went into town to see the Christmas lights and all the hustle and bustle.

O’Connell Street was a beautiful as ever. The tree and crib so nice – though we were wondering why the shepherds had fallen at the back and how it came that the Three Kings had already arrived? The GPO had the most amazing light display on it and Santa was waiting for customers to give them a ride not on his sleigh but on his cart and horse.

Pádraig got a four-legged visitor that was being minded by one of his sisters. The two of them got on so well with each other that we started to think again about the possibility of a companion dog for Pádraig. We need to figure out the mechanics – but that should be possible. And then we would need the right dog…

Pádraig continued with the iPad-based challenges. Have a look at the sequence of numbers and see how long it takes you to name the next number in that sequence. It’s not rocket science, but there is a lot of different types of cognition involved when you think about it.

We put up a small tree beside Pádraig’s little fountain in the garden, in front of his window. Amazing that it was possible to sit outside that night, even after the sun had gone down, in the dark, for more than just a moment. It was so mild.

Pádraig received a chocolate Santa Teddy at the Christmas get-together in An Saol last week, as did each of the other day clients. He had a brilliant hour or two of Christmas Music, a small present and ham & turkey. Although it was all ‘distanced’ with a lot of precautions taken, it brought the true spirit of Christmas to everybody around.

When returning from the supermarket one day, I saw that someone must have anticipated my passing by, offering me his help. Like Bruce Almighty, I desperately need a sign. Yes I do. Like Bruce, I could do with some guidance.

But somehow I have the feeling that God will not share his phone number with me as he did with Bruce. My challenges will not be solved by a phone call to the man whose earthly, made-man birthday we are about to celebrate.

Instead it will be the happiness, joie de vivre, the joy in the eyes and the smile on the faces of our friends sharing An Saol’s life and living adventure that will guide me. Curious about what the New Year will bring and how we will be able to shape it.

Walking on water.

A big wave and best wishes from Pádraig to all his friends,
wherever they may be this Christmas time.

Nollaig shona dhuit

and in 2021 –

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand.