You certainly remember the Christmas story of the birth of the Jewish boy Jesus.
The central theme of the story is: “You have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you – tidings of great joy to be shared by all the people. This day in David’s city a saviour has been born to you, the Messiah and Lord.”
If we we are open to the initial message, try to comprehend its meaning and take it into our hearts, we will celebrate Christmas as the birth of God’s son Jesus.
Christmas thus means that God comes into this world through Jesus Christ as a human being, the same way we all come into being.
Do we understand this simple phrase? What do the terms God, Jesus Christ, human being and world mean to us? We need words, descriptions and formulas as communication aids to formulate our conceptions and ideas, but by doing this we are far from having understood reality.
I am writing this for my readers who might have problems with the easy-going and often redundant-sounding Christian statements and therefore might reject them. Many things in life may seem familiar to us, but in fact they are not, and their inherent mystery remains.
Maybe we could try to celebrate the mystery of Christmas in a child-like way, meaning with an open mind – one that is ready to learn, without pretending or striving to fully understand the mystery. It will be a blessing for us to assume the Christmas message, because it deeply affects us as human beings.
Jesus Christ is our brother, our guide and fellow traveller. In this sense he can be understood as our saviour, who awaits our commitment and cooperation. Certainly he, whose ‘birthday’ we remember at this time of year, represents us human beings at their best - through which heaven will come to earth and earth will become heaven.
I wish you a fulfilling Christmas time and may Jesus Christ’s spirit be with you also in 2007.
Ernst Gicklhorn is a retired priest who is resident on Paros and has offered his services to the Catholic Church on Paros and was designated by Father Manolis Remoundos from Naxos to be his representative for the Sunday services in the Catholic Church of Naoussa. Father Gicklhorn was born in Czechoslovakia in 1938 and has worked throughout his life as a parish priest in Germany (Schwarzwald and Bodensee area) and for 7 years in Spain (Costa Blanca), before coming to Paros.