During the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin, President Michael D Higgins reminded us to ensure we do not forget the friends, neighbours, colleagues or relatives who are not as fortunate as we are.
Here are some of his words:
“In the midst of the Christmas celebrations, it is important that we remember that its core meaning, which is about shelter, our continued obligation to offer hospitality, welcome strangers into our midst and the joy that such a welcome for the stranger brings.
In contemporary times, it means reaching out a hand of friendship to those who have travelled to Ireland from far away countries, and have arrived on our shores in need of refuge and shelter.
In doing so we stand in solidarity with all those across the world who are forced to leave their homes and their friends in search of a life free from fear and danger.
This time of year is also a challenging time for those who may be living far away from the country of their birth, and who depend on the kindness of new friends and neighbours as they celebrate Christmas in a new country, and a new home.
For most of us, it would be impossible to imagine Christmas Day without our families, the people with whom we have built so many Christmas traditions and who will always, in years to come, be central to our memories of Christmases past.
We continue to write the story of Christmas with new members of families and friends, sharing and continuing the stories that started with our parents and grandparents and will continue to be written by our children and their children.
In years to come, and wherever we may find ourselves in the world, it is those memories that will sustain us, enrich us and continue to define the essence of Christmas.”