“In so many ways we, and our whole world, are living through a time of darkness, when mounting challenges threaten to diminish our hope, to overwhelm our will to meet the evident needs and palpable pains of our day, and even to sap our dedication to truth and justice.
Yet, as disciples of Jesus and as Christian communities united in Christ’s love, we are called to stand up to fear, counter falsehood, challenge selfishness and greed, and offer hope to the whole world.
We cannot acquiesce in disappointment nor succumb to despair. The world needs more from us— more courage, more creativity, more inspiration, and dedication. More self-giving love.“
With these words from the Christmas Message of the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Prof. Dr. Jerry Pillay, I sent my heartfelt Christmas Greetings and good wishes for the new year to our ecumenical partners and personal friends in Africa, Asia, Middle East, USA, Europe, and Germany. It is indeed a time of darkness and suffering. We are still struggling with adequate responses to the wars and conflicts of our time. We express our compassion with the relatives of the Hamas hostages and the victims of the Hamas terror, with the civilian population in Gaza and West Bank, with our Christian sisters and brothers in the Holy Land, with the people in Ukraine, and all the other victims of war, violence and displacement. The longing for peace has never been greater for me in my life as in these days.
The Christmas story draws our attention to the child in the nativity. In this child, God connects with human life in a very special way. God himself becomes a human being, God loves life and people. The child stands for the great vision of peace for all people. And so, looking at the nativity, let us pray that God will give people the strength to be there for one another and to seek peace especially for people whose lives are threatened – by war and violence, by misery and need.
Wishing all of you a blessed Christmas season and – hopefully – a better New Year for everyone.