Christmas 2021: a feast of hope

When we think of Christmas we often imagine a snowy wonderland, white-capped mountains, and frozen lakes. If not from personal experience, then from pop culture. However, given the global mood, this is a never-never land. Behind the façade, Christmas looks different.

In many countries around the world, Christmas is nothing but a date in the calendar. Either because the dominant religion does not recognise it as a Christian feast or because the politics of the country do not allow for a sense of safety and security or incidents in the family turn the feast of joy into a sad memory. For many people Christmas is stressful. Joy turns into disappointment. Once again, a year ends with mixed emotions…

What speaks against the Christmas spirit

There are many facts that speak against the Christmas spirit.

  • Climate change is threatening the future of humanity. Many are worried about the world they live in. The Glasgow Climate Change Conference has left many disappointed. There is only one Earth, they say, and we are destroying it. Despite Christmas, the forecast for the future is gloomy.
  • There are still too many wars or armed conflicts in the world. Human rights organisations speak of around twenty-five ongoing wars and four armed conflicts, whereby the nuance between war and conflict is already cynical enough. From Afghanistan to the Central African Republic to Yemen—some are doing the shooting while others are being shot at. And all suffer!
  • Many countries are affected by extreme poverty. In Madagascar, the Congo, and Malawi 97 per cent of the population live on less than five US dollars a day. That’s 150 dollars a month or 1,800 dollars a year. In many countries it is not uncommon for one family member to work three jobs at a time. This phenomenon is not entirely unknown in industrialised countries either.
  • The Worldometer predicts that the net population growth alone this year will be more than 70 million people. Some 120 million people will have been born, and more than 50 million will have died by the end of the year. And every figure represents a fate! The eternal cycle of life is everything but romantic.

Many more figures, everyday facts, and sad news could still be added here. But enough of this! It’s Christmas.

What speaks for the Christmas spirit

The facts that speak for the Christmas spirit are, thank God, just as numerous. Christmas is what we make of it! Here is the festive schedule of the devout Christian.

Jesus Christ came into the world. He was born as true man and true God. His arrival was celebrated in a small circle, yet it spread great joy into the hearts of human beings: “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Many believed this and believe it to this day. Their Christmas joy does not only consist of gifts, health, and a secure life, but of confidence and hope. Trust in God’s omnipotence does not make their day-to-day lives easier and more beautiful, but it does make it easier to bear the ups and downs and the uncertainties. Contentment is a matter of the heart and is not guided solely by external influences.

Those who count on Jesus Christ

  • feel joy, because joy in the Lord is one of the principles of the gospel;
  • have a future, for the Christian faith gives us assurance for the future;
  • are never alone, because Christ promised to be with His followers until the end of the world
  • earn the salvation of their soul, for that is what Christmas is all about, right?

A blessed Christmas is a Christmas of hope and a future.

Photo: Guy Sagi -

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Peter Johanning
Christmas, International