The Christmas message of Bishop Jukka Keskitalo of the Diocese of Oulu, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
To Bishop Ivan Laptev of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria
Dear Brother in Christ,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” declared the Angels in the Christmas gospel. Even at Christmas, the angelic revelation came amid a troubled world. Even then, there were confrontations, wars, and battles.
Although statistics show that wars in the world have decreased in this century compared to the 1900’s, unfortunately, even as we’re getting closer to this Christmas, many people will have to fear for their lives in the midst of the horrors of war. In particular, my thoughts and prayers are with the civilian casualties of Ethiopia’s rapidly escalating civil war.
Although we can live in a deep state of peace in Finland, still many people experience the social situation even in our own country as restless. Personally, I’m concerned about the escalating climate of discussion in society. At times, social media platforms seem to be a long way from peace. I wish peace and goodwill could come where people willfully misunderstand others and strike them with a verbal sword.
To bring more peace, there need to be peacemakers, peace builders. In your inner circle, at home, at school, at the workplace, you can be a peacemaker this coming Christmas. Peace in the inner circle is built on small things and words. “Thank you” and “forgive me” are the most important words for peace in human relations.
Where the child of Christmas, Jesus, is at the center, peace is being built. Jesus is not called the Prince of Peace in vain. Jesus can change the human heart and bring peace there. That peace is not just a peaceful mind or a sense of calm, but it’s something deeper. It is the peace of God’s love.
May Jesus, the Prince of Peace, bless your Christmas!
Oulu, during Advent 2021