|The angel announces to the shepherds the joyful message of the Holy Night, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy… For unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2: 10-11)
Photo: Hortus Deliciarum 12th. C
In this time of suffering, crises and anxiety, we need the message of Christmas, today as 2,000 years ago. Every year anew! We all need the comforting word of the angels, "Fear not!" Do not be afraid! The Saviour is born to you: Jesus in Bethlehem (house of bread) as bread for the world. We need the glad tidings of the angelic hosts now as then in the Shepherds’ Field in Bethlehem. We need them again today for all of us, for the whole world, "Gloria in excelsis Deo! - Glory to God in the highest!" And peace on earth, joy and goodwill to the people in this world!
Do not be afraid! We all need that! Emmanuel, God is with us! Jesus reminded the apostles of this meaning of his name on the day of his ascension. I am Emmanuel! “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!” Do not be afraid! Walk and follow this Christmas message!
The Christmas angels’ song is that programme, is heaven’s plan for the earth, is the programme of the Gospel, the programme of Jesus, is the law for our world, which is so threatened by wars, hate, selfish interests, terror and fanaticism.
The angels’ song is not only our programme, but one for all people, all religions, all countries, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The terrible developments are the reason for the emigration of Christians from the Middle East. The continued emigration means the loss of their presence, role and witness to the Gospel, its values and its message.
That is why we consider the proclaimed joy of Christmas as the greatest gift for all. It is the best condition for communal living among peoples, for Christians remaining in security and freedom together with Muslims, and for the longed-for peace in the Holy Land! It is the basis for dialogue between Islam, Judaism and Christianity. As Isaiah says, “O Lord our God, give us peace: for thou hast rendered to us all things.” (26: 12 LXX)
This meditation is the content of my good wishes to all the friends and people I have served and cared for during my sixty years as priest, as bishop and as patriarch.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and every blessing for the New Year 2020!
With love and blessings
Patriarch Emeritus Gregorios III