In a special Christmas message, accompanied by a card, social media images and a video, World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca reflects on fear, despair, hope and joy.
“The child in the manger, in its vulnerability, is an image of fragile hope, the beginning of a new story that will culminate in the gift of life and salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ,” he writes. “There have been and there are today many reasons to be afraid and to live in despair.”
In the most difficult days of history, Christians have time and again found consolation and hope during the Christmas season, he continues.
“Celebrations of Christmas in churches and families this year will be tempered by the physical distancing and other restrictions brought on by our concern to protect each other from the coronavirus,” he writes. “People will grieve for the many dead around the world and will express their gratitude for those who care for the sick with great dedication and courage.”
The pandemic has everywhere torn the social fabric, and violence and war continue, Sauca reflects. “Even under these circumstances, however, there is a sound of angels in the air, proclaiming the birth of Christ with great joy,” he writes. “As Christians, we glimpse in this singular event, the birth of the child Jesus in a desolate village at the margins of the Roman empire, the fragile beginnings of our own redemption.”
Sauca also lifts up in prayer the people and leadership of WCC member churches, and all people on earth.
“In a world of pain and death, the event of Christmas allows us to find consolation, lift our heads in hope, and glimpse in deep faith the triumph of life and love in the birth of Jesus,” he concludes. “This is good news of great joy for all people.”
Read the full WCC Christmas message, watch Christmas video, download Christmas card: www.oikoumene.org/christmas