Christmas 2019: A greeting from the World Council of Churches
Christmas symbols of light and life fill our homes and churches at this time: the nativity scenes, the stars, the green trees and tiny candles. But we also find them in the streets, in the marketplaces, and sometimes where we did not expect to find them. They can impart meaning and joy that transcend even the commercialization of these symbols at Christmas.
This Christmas I draw your attention to an aspect of the message of the incarnation that we do not talk about so often, but that has become all the more important to all of us. The birth of Jesus is described in the Gospel of John as the Creator’s care for the world. We have come into being in him. This is the scriptural affirmation of God’s love for the world, for the whole world. It is conveyed through the presence of God in our human life. Jesus is the life and the light of all and for all. Jesus as the Word of Creation is near us, among us, one of us. He is here for us and our salvation.
We should think, feel and celebrate how the Christmas message is relevant for our personal relation to God. But the Gospel also offers us a wider perspective: The Christmas message helps us to see all things and everyone that God has created as expressions of God’s will and God’s love.
The Holy Family is a sign of the whole human family, surrounded by animals and everything God created through the Word.
The light and life of the world that we celebrate at Christmas are even more needed in a world threatened by our human actions and by lack of care for this earth, our common home. The Christmas message is for everybody and about everybody.
The incarnation—God’s becoming flesh, human, and part of the created world—is the awesome mystery of Christmas. This mystery directs our attention to how God loves not only humans but the whole of creation to which we as humans belong.
The great and glowing symbols of light and life are not only there to make us happy and peaceful. They also push us into a new sense of the whole creation in which we share our faith, hope and love.
For the future of our world, the meaning of Christmas is a message for all of us: Christ’s love moves us to take care of God’s creation. We are here to be signs of this life and light that are the presence of the Christ.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
World Council of Churches