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Christmas Message 2017

Night of nights.
Holy night.
Night of peace.
The night on which love was born.

This night is like no other—just because of three words.
Three words: possibly the most important words in all of human history. For each of us personally, for you and for me, the most important words we’ll ever hear.
These words were spoken in the fields near Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born: “Don’t be afraid.”
On the first holy night, the night when Jesus was born, people had many things to worry about: It was much like our nights and days now, which are filled with stresses and strains and many worries.
The past year has not necessarily been an easy year for you.
Just like on the first night of Christmas long ago, when God’s love came into the world in the form of a little baby, we need to hear the angels sing out: “Fear not.”
Don’t be afraid: This is God’s message to you this Christmas.
Don’t be afraid, even if you’re alone, far from your family, far from your friends.
No matter where you are in the world right now: Don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid, even if you are out of work and running out of money.
Don’t be afraid, even if your future looks uncertain, even if one of your loved ones is sick and you’re far away.
Don’t be afraid, even if your ship is passing in the Mediterranean Sea..

Even though we all have many worries, God gives us times of peace and joy, times when we can relax and forget our problems. God gives us moments when we see the beauty of nature, when we are surrounded by the wonder of God’s creation. God lets us see how beautiful life can be.
And at Christmas God says, Behold my love for you and everyone around you: Christ our Savior is born.
The holy night of the first Christmas in Bethlehem gave new meaning to people’s lives: God showed his love through the birth of his son Jesus Christ.
Jesus lived in a time when people had many problems, and many had given up hope that things would ever get better. But Jesus didn’t let problems rule his life, because he knew that he wasn’t alone. And we are not alone, because the son of God who was born in Bethlehem brought God’s love into the world and made light shine into our lives.
When we give someone a word of encouragement, when we offer a helping hand, we are passing God’s love on to others.
Every word of hope or forgiveness,
Every word of sympathy and comfort, every cry against injustice,
Every sign of friendship, even a little smile, shows that God’s love is in our world.
It shows that God’s love is with us and that this love overcomes fear and doubt.
Don’t be afraid. Fear not! God’s love gives meaning to our lives, and a life filled with God’s love can change the world.
That is what is so special about this night of nights, the night when love was born in Bethlehem, this silent night, this holy night.   Ever since that first holy night we know that God’s love is with us. This love is with us every night, even on the darkest nights.
At Christmas, the angels sing: Do not be afraid; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Rev. Heike Proske,
Secretary General of Deutsche Seemannsmission

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