Bishop Irja Askola

There was always a rush on, ever since the first Christmas, both in people’s minds and out on the roads. Yearning, people wandered about, seeking the promised one. Or they were driven by force, obeying orders. Or they had no other options.

Christmas is being on the move. We often stride rapidly, adapting to other people’s expectations. The mind drifts, shifting to scenes from our memories, sighing with gratitude. Or the mind leaps to where fears arise. Or it drifts to where the shame of inadequacy casts its shadow. These many journeys speed us along. At Yuletide there seems to be either too much or too little of everything.

The account of the first Christmas conveyed one and the same message to different kinds of travellers. The words “Do not be afraid” echoed from one home to another. The message surprised a young woman puzzled over her new situation in life, ordinary working men on their night shift and wise men on a quest, looking for new direction. When these ceased to fear, they had the strength to go out and find what they were looking for.

Still today those messengers of God are on the move. Amidst the rush in our minds and the hurry on our highways, they repeat the message meant for us human beings: “Do not be afraid.” Sometimes these couriers arrive in places where they are expected. But they are also turn up where there is bafflement, exhaustion and deep longing. They even show up on those doorsteps we would most like to forget. The Christmas message enjoys unlimited circulation.

Amidst all the Christmas bustle, let me pray we might move in the right direction; go where we can find what we have been looking for and hear the words so longed for.


Christmas is a possibility

For telling or hearing a message,

Amidst everything

To be surprised by good.


May God bless each and everyone’s Christmas!