Wishing all a blessed Christmas!

Christmas leaves no one indifferent. But it takes more than carols, a Christmas tree, and gifts to warm to the actual message of this Christian feast. It requires faith!

Christmas is without a doubt one of the most popular Christian holidays. Most people—and not only in the Christian world—know why Christmas is observed. It commemorates the birth of Jesus as true Man. He was born in Bethlehem one night. God sent His Son into the world. The area was deserted. The only people to witness these events were shepherds. The birth had actually been announced long ago. In fact, already the old Scriptures testified of it. Even the city of David, Bethlehem, is mentioned in them.

In the gospel of Luke we read that His name was to be Jesus. Jesus means “God saves”. In his gospel Matthew cites a passage from Isaiah and mentions a second name of the Child: Immanuel, which means “God with us”.

Only a few were expecting Him

Basically, everything is clear. Or maybe not? In fact, no one was really expecting Him. He was born in very humble circumstances, in the middle of the night, and without any sort of fanfare. The desire for a Messiah was certainly widespread, but it had somehow come to be relegated to legend. The old people talked about it. But that was it.

Reading the old prophecies and hearing about them was one thing, waiting for their fulfilment another. The fact is that very few were there when the Child was born. The mother, Joseph, some shepherds, three magi from North Africa, a prophetess, and an old Priest. That was just about it. But they experienced something absolutely miraculous:

  • the scientists saw a new star.
  • the shepherds heard the angels sing.
  • the mother likely understood the significance of this event the best of all.
  • Anna, the prophetess, saw her wish come true. So did Simeon, the priest.

Looking for a new star

And today? What does Jesus Christ give to the people today? A new star would not be bad. A little more orientation and direction would be good. Many voices say many things—and each one means something different. Who sets a direction for mankind that is good for everyone? Who makes sure that there is justice? Who protects the weak and declares peace as the criterion for humanity? Who bears the brunt when a dirty trick is played on the neighbour? Who undoes the damage?

A mission for everyone

It is up to each and everyone of us, not only the few politicians “up there”. Even the Churches only have limited influence. Sure, they preach about Jesus Christ’s morals and values—but it is up to the congregation to hear it and put it into practice. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11: 28). This is a major challenge for mankind today, Christmas or not. Christmas is a good time to start doing good things—and perhaps make a new beginning in terms of peace and justice.

“What would you like?” little Olga was asked. “A real home,” she said spontaneously. I heard this personally—in a home for social orphans. Christmas is like being at home!

Photo: kevron2001 / fotolioa

Article info


Peter Johanning