We can all do our bit to help the homeless

In a beautiful poem in Irish, Máire Mhac an tSaoi described the Irish tradition of people lighting a candle in their window on Christmas Eve, inviting the Christ-child to sleep in their home that night.

We can all do our bit to help the homeless

There were no rooms available anywhere in Bethlehem, so the King of the universe was born in a stable, on the margins of society.

Jesus knew what homelessness is. He tramped the roads of Palestine, depending on the goodness of the people he met.

He said, “The foxes have earths and the birds of the air have their nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” He wants us today to reach out to help all of the people.

What can we do to help?

Nothing reminds me more of poverty than a paper cup in an outstretched hand, begging me for “a little help, please”.This Christmas, I will drink from a paper cup when I sit down to dinner, to remind me that there is a terrible poverty in Ireland worse than austerity.

I will keep another paper cup on the mantelpiece, into which I shall throw loose change every evening, all year round.

That will be my New Year’s Resolution. When the cup is full of small coins, I will empty it into a sturdy shoebox. When the shoebox is full, I will donate it to a worthy charity and start again.

Michael Mernagh



Co Cork.

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