one more sleep …

Dec 24, 2022


… just keep breathing 😊

Children often count the sleeps until Christmas. Adults are more likely to feel the pressure of all that needs to be completed before Christmas and year’s end.

Whatever our feeling this Christmas eve, take a moment to be still, to be silent, and to breathe deeply knowing that every beat of your heart is a reminder that God is giving you life. You are not keeping yourself in existence.

Just keep breathing and give Jesus whatever joy, hope, grief or anxiety you feel in these hours before Christmas.

Just keep breathing, and breathing deeply. God is giving you that breath. Relax.

Even with the mix of family and friends of all faiths and none gathered at one table for Christmas Dinner, there is still a sense that a dignified moment is appropriate to begin the meal.

In the past praying a well-known grace may have been an option, but these days it is a bit more complex with a greater diversity of beliefs and perspectives gathered around the Christmas table.

I offer this grace below as a way to begin your Christmas meal this year.

A Grace before Christmas Dinner

One of the more senior people
at the dinner begins saying:

Before we share this Christmas meal together,
Let us take a moment of silent prayer
to give God thanks
for all the blessings we have received this year
and the burdens we bear, shared and personal.

A moment of silent reflection follows
Then the leader continues

Let us remember those
we have shared Christmas with in past years,
those who have died,
and also those who are not able to be with us today
because of distance and illness.
Let us now share aloud
the names of those we especially wish to remember.

Those at table take a moment
to share the names of those
they wish to remember.

When the names have been shared
a candle is lit in the centre of the table
(perhaps by one of the children).
Then the leader prays

May the light of this candle
lead us to Christ
who overcomes every darkness.

And for what we receive in this meal,
the food, drink, and family and friendship,
let us be deeply grateful.




  1. Outstanding reflection today Father John.
    All the blessings of the Season to you and your team.and thank you for the posts through the year they have been greatly appreciated.

  2. Thank you for the reminder to thank the Lord especially at Christmas dinner!! Used that grace last year but had lost it so have printed it out in readiness! Thanks for the reflections Father and blessings for a restful Christmas

  3. Just what I needed this morning, Father John. Thank you for helping to nourish my Faith and my soul . Merry Christmas To You.

  4. Thank you Fr John & team. There have been days these reflections give so much hope & inspiration we are truly blessed

  5. We sing happy birthday to Jesus. It brings a focus onto Jesus, that all the carry on is supposed to honour him. Now that the kids are adults and not living locally we keep it simple. As simple as thinking of not having accommodation so having to sleep with the animals – or in today’s terms, a car or tent.
    Mary, Joseph and Jesus had it hard, so those in difficulty are closer to them than they possibly realize.

  6. Thank you for the many reflections Fr John they have kept me going on days when I have been unable to go to Mass. happy Christmas

  7. Perfect. Thank you Fr John for enriching Advent with your wisdom and wit. Wishing you, and all fff fans, a blessed Christmas and 2023.

  8. Thank you Father John for all your reflections this Advent season. They have helped me tremendously as I recover from a heart attack and have been unable to go to church because of breathing difficulties so to be reminded today to breathe, Thanks be to God for giving us breath and keeping us alive to enjoy his wonderful world. A very blessed Christmas to you with time to relax.

  9. Thank you Father John for your reflections a blessed Christmas to you


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