from the World Council of Churches general secretary

He will bring forth justice to the nations …

… a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

Isaiah 42:1,3

What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

John 1:3-5 (NRSV)

The psalmist described the Word of God as a lamp to light our feet, to guide us on the path of life. In Holy Scripture, we find many depictions of light as an image of God’s glory and guidance. Later artists have employed light in their portrayals of the Nativity of Jesus Christ: the light of a star shining from heaven, the luminescence of angels, the divine glow from a manger rising to illuminate human faces.

Isaiah taught that the coming Servant of the Lord would encourage even the dimmest light as it burnt in the midst of darkness. The hymn of incarnation that opens the Fourth Gospel proclaims that the light shines still, despite the darkness, for gloom and death shall never overcome the Word, the life, the light of God.

What the Word has brought into being is life, and the life is the light of all people. In the coming year, the World Council of Churches will focus its witness and work around a simple prayer which serves as the theme of our 10th Assembly:

God of life, lead us to justice and peace.

In the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, we are particularly aware of God’s gift of light revealed in the eternal Word who became flesh, and who dwells among us even now. This is the light that gives us hope for this present world in spite of disunity, abuse, hatred, violence, poverty, greed and corruption.

Christ’s light is the lamp for our feet that shows us the way toward justice and peace. Even when our own wicks burn dimly, the Word of God withstands the darkness, faithfully bringing forth justice on our common way toward peace.

May you enjoy all the blessings of this Christmas as we recall the great good news:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom God favours!

In the joy of the Holy Spirit, and in Christian love, I remain,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General secretary
World Council of Churches