Christmas, an imposition without Christmas

Does Christmas still even fit into our time? More than two billion people celebrate it, but do they still believe in the age-old message of the incarnation of God? They sing about peace and joy and love, but things in the world look very different.

Christmas without Christmas? How can that work? How can you cope with the wonderful smells, the beautiful lights, the decorated trees, and the religious songs if Christmas does not remain a feast of faith? Christmas without faith is difficult to bear. Wars, dying children, despair, and a dominant stock market: “No, I don’t think Christmas is beautiful at all. It changes nothing for me,” a patient says. And the doctor who is treating him has to work on Christmas. “Christmas makes me feel completely miserable,” says a lonely man. “What is there to be happy about?” a homeless woman asks and looks for a corner that is sheltered from the wind. The soup kitchens are full.

So what is so special about Christmas? Nothing, unless we make it special. The Saviour was born. God became man in His Son. This is the general belief of Christendom. This is essentially what connects those who have been baptized in Christ.

I love you, I will help you, and I will come back!

Christmas and belief in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, still go together and maybe even more so now than ever before. We need the Saviour urgently—one who can repair what has been shattered and broken. Belief in Him is the best remedy against despair and fear, is a good bulwark against misanthropy and bellicosity. This Christ has left us three messages, the Chief Apostle said to the children that welcomed him in Perth: “I will help you, I love you, and I will come again!” That is the gospel in a nutshell—and an enormous consolation for at least two billion Christians. We can do something with this.

Following the good example

“This Christmas Day I would like to draw attention to Mary, who obeyed the will of God and who, in her obedience and humbleness, ensured that God could become Man in Jesus. Mary is an example we too can follow,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider says in his Christmas message. Her declaration: “Let it be to me according to your word,” was an expression of deepest faith and confidence. It was only much later, namely when Jesus had risen, that Mary received the proof that the promise of the angel had been fulfilled: He was truly the Saviour, the Son of God. Human beings are not always able to see so far. Often our eyes only see what is directly in front of our noses. That is why Christmas also requires a little patience and perseverance because the Saviour who was born in Bethlehem wants to return as bridegroom. And this promise has not yet been fulfilled.

Here Chief Apostle Schneider says: “Let us not dismiss this as an ‘imposition’ on our faith, but accept it and preserve it in faith.” This is the only way we will be able to benefit from promises that have not yet been fulfilled.

Christmas, a feast of joy

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (from the Christmas story according to Luke 2).

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Peter Johanning