Dear Friends, Sisters and Brothers in our worldwide fellowship,
This year, after 11 months of Russia’s war in Ukraine and in view of the many victims in the world’s violent conflicts, the longing for peace is especially connected with Christmas. Wars, violence, oppression and poverty are driving people around the world to flee their homes. They often have the same experience as the Holy Family on the night of Jesus‘ birth:
There was no place for them in the guest room!
Often this is one of the worst and most bitter things that people can experience. Because this is so, Jesus seeks in his life again and again the closeness to those for whom „there is no place in the guest room“. He turns to those who are poor and sick, to those who are held in low esteem in the eyes of many – to those who are guilty and despised.
On our Christmas card this year, the „no“ is in brackets. What do we mean by this: Jesus is connected to those who have no room in the inn. His life and his message are the promise: I am with you – all the days of your life, even where you have no room in this life or where this room is lost to you. His life and his message are at the same time the invitation: „Be there for one another. Give each other space in the inn of life.“
This is also expressed by the symbolism of the image on the card. The installation is entitled Insignia of Hospitality and designed by Dagmar Brunk. The open coat as a sign of being welcome – red as a symbol of warmth – made of wool felt, archaic material that warms; a chair with sheepskin that invites you to sit and stay – plate with bread and a carafe with water as a sign of the common and shared meal.
At Christmas we celebrate God’s hospitality, that God became Human and came into this fragile world. At the same time, it brings with it the hope that destruction, violence, fear and suffering will not have the last word if we give space to God’s love and peace. I take this hope and longing with me into the new year and wish you a blessed Christmas and a good start into the year ahead of us.