Jesus Seen as Light in Dark Times

Jerusalem’s Christian Leaders Send Christmas Message

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JERUSALEM, DEC. 19, 2008 ( Even though it may appear that there are more problems than solutions in the world today, the leaders of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem are reminding the faithful that Jesus is a light that “never goes out.”

Thirteen patriarchs and heads of Christian Churches stated this in a message for Christmas in which they also urged their flocks to transform faith in the light of Christ into action.

Patriarch Fouad Twal, the archbishop of Jerusalem, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, and Patriarch Theophilos III of the Greek Orthodox Church were among the signers. Representatives of the Armenian, Coptic, Syrian and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches also signed the message, as did leaders of the Maronite, Greek Melkite, Anglican, Lutheran, Syrian Catholic and Armenian Catholic Churches.

“As we prepare to celebrate Christmas there seems to be even more, darkness, conflict and despair in the world around us. That means for us, as Christians, we must think even more carefully and deeply about Jesus — the baby born in Bethlehem’s stable,” the leaders said.

Despite the “absence of light” that people perceive, they reminded the faithful that “Jesus is a light in the dark which never goes out, a burning light which takes the terror from the night and moreover, a light on which we should fix our eyes not least when the clouds appear to be gathering around us.”

What would he do?

“We must affirm and witness to the fact that Jesus is the light which shines out from our personal and corporate lives at all times,” they affirmed. “Again and again we need to ask ourselves. ‘What would Jesus do, what would Jesus say?’

“Then, our thoughts and ideas of his actions and words must be translated into the daily life of our community — particularly in this Holy Land.”

The leaders of the Churches also mentioned the need to “convince the world’s political leaders that the true peace will only come on earth when we seek God’s will for his people.”

In particular they mentioned the president-elect of the United States, Barack Obama, and said they would pray “that he and other world leaders may see the urgent need for peace in the Middle East and not least in this Land.”

“We need also to see the situation in which many are suffering in Gaza in the light of Christ and make a determined effort to bring them urgent relief,” the message continued. “Moreover, we must never forget our duty to point our children and young people to the light of Christ assuring them that, through Jesus, we all have hope for a better world.”

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