“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory,
the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:14)

“Glory” is a word, a shout, a song used to express human wonder at the majesty of God. When Jesus was born, angels ascribed “glory to God in the highest heaven” (Luke 2:14), and in the witness of Christ’s life on earth “we have seen his glory … full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

In celebrating Christmas, we recognize the coming of Jesus as the meeting-point of heaven and earth, the means of healing our broken relations with God, overcoming our hostility towards one another and re-kindling our determination to seek peace in this world. “That is,” the apostle Paul explained, “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Reconciliation is a glorious message. It offers the promise that some wrongs of the past may be set right, the truth may be discovered in all cases, forgiveness may be sought and even ancient enemies may come to live together in mutual respect. It is a message of mercy and hope that reflects the great gift of God’s love in Jesus Christ.

The United Nations has declared 2009 to be the International Year of Reconciliation and has called on societies that have been divided by conflict to adopt reconciliation processes in order to establish firm and lasting peace. Christian churches everywhere, and the World Council of Churches, are supporting this effort through projects and ministries consistent with the ecumenical Decade for Overcoming Violence; Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace (2001-2010).

We commit ourselves as Christians, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to this great purpose. And we give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the opportunity to work for reconciliation with men and women of good will throughout the world, in the spirit of the angels’ blessing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth, peace among those whom God favours!”

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary
World Council of Churches

This message, read by Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, is also available as an audio file for downloading at:
http://www.oikoumene.org/fileadmin/files/wcc-main/sounds/2008/Christmas_message_WCC_Gen_Sec.mp3

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