Sisters, Brethren and friends of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution. Another year has passed us by and as we bid farewell to 2023 and the end of our 120th birthday year, I bring Christmas Greetings to you all.

Christmas is a special time of the year for our members with many having loved ones home from faraway places to share in the excitement that it offers; exchanging gifts, feasting and relaxing.

Of course there are some who don’t get home for Christmas and while technology has made it easier to see and speak to them via Skype, WhatsApp, Messenger, or whatever platform you use, it’s not the same as a big hug when you see them home again. Whatever your situation, I trust you will all have an enjoyable time.

For others in our Orange family there will be problems; ill health, sickness or other traumas. This will be a challenging time for them with anxiety and worry in their mind. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and if our Institution can help in any way please ask in confidence and we will endeavour to get that help.

Inevitably there will be empty chairs at the family tables of some of our members for the first time this Christmas. I know that this will be difficult for them and I extend the thoughts and prayers of the Institution.

There are those in our community who will be lonely at this season. I encourage you to lift the phone and call someone in your locality that you know who may be lonely this Christmas. That call might be the only communication they will have and I’m sure it will be appreciated so much.

Our Institution will have family members who may have to go to their place of work on Christmas Day and I pay tribute to them as they serve. Whether in the security forces, NHS, charity work or wherever it is, I commend them for their dedication and service.

Most of our Institution’s members are based in Northern Ireland and, thankfully we are now largely free from the troubles that we endured for over 30 years. We are mindful that war is still going on in the world, and we remember the people of Ukraine as they fight to keep what is rightfully theirs; their homeland. May their reward be close at hand.

The conflict going on in the Middle East is also to the fore and no one can watch the news reports on television and not be moved by the awful carnage that is happening there.

My prayer, and that of the Institution, is that the God of Christmas would intervene and bring a speedy end to the conflict and suffering in both these areas and in others throughout the world.

As we are busy rushing around in these last few days leading up to Christmas Day, it will do us good to remind ourselves of the true meaning of Christmas as told us in John Ch 1 v 29: Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.

In closing l wish all Orange Sisters, Brethren and supporters wherever you are in the world a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

Rt. Wor. Bro. James Anderson
Imperial Grand Master