Tijana Petković from the Serbian Orthodox Church shares reflections on the occasion of Christmas celebrated in Orthodox tradition, affirming hope in Christ’s birth.
Christ is born! We believe and confess that Christ is born in Bethlehem of Judea, the anointed one from God, born according to God’s will. This Christmas, let us be the hosts of our Lord. Let us receive him and greet him in our homes, receiving him in his entirety, without any differentiation. Let us glorify him in our churches in a way that is befitting and worthy.
Let us receive him as a source of life, as light of our being.
Filling our hearts and souls with the peace of God, let us celebrate the newborn Christ with a song, “glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).
The birth of Christ is, above all, an act of God’s love that was revealed in the whole event of the birth of our Jesus Christ. Matthew testifies this by repeating Isaiah’s words, “In his name the nations will put their hope,” (Matthew 12:21).
Let us rejoice in the unique, absolute hope on which our faith rests. Without hope, our faith loses all its meaning. The deep connection between freedom and hope is found in Jesus’s words, “Do not be afraid,” (Matthew 14:27). Indeed, fear paralyzes us in hopeless situations. Simply put, hope creates freedom, freedom enables the search for meaning, which in turn points toward hope and eventually the hope of us all. Hope for Christians is an ultimate reality.
In his Christmas message to the faithful in 2021, Serbian Orthodox Bishop Grigorije Duric, head of the Eparchy of Dusseldorf and all of Germany, emphasised that we must take care of each other. He said, “In the year that is behind us, we could learn how important the peace of God is to us, how important it is to have peace in our hearts, to preserve it. And the preconditions for preserving peace are hope, which never exists without patience. And again, hope does not exist if it is not based on faith, and faith and hope have no meaning in themselves and if they are not covered with love.”
Therefore, let us proclaim the unequivocal hope manifested in Christ’s birth. Let us use this hope to gather power among us to care for others while we welcome Christ in our midst.