Take Christmas as a time to renew, rebuild, and restore the brokenness so that you may find peace in Christ. The peace Child of God gives true peace to those who seek God’s favor. He said, “My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). Rev. Jack Urame.
2022 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
From Bishop Dr. Jack Urame, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG)
Seasonal greetings to you all!
On behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, I convey to you the 2022 Christmas message as we approach the close of the year.
We began the year with a joyful celebration of our 33rd National Synod hosted by Papua district in Port Moresby. God has been gracious to us and we have enjoyed the fellowship in the spirit of solidarity and unity during the synod.
In 2022, the church has been blessed with a new university. The National Parliament has endorsed the ELCPNG Act and the Lutheran University Act, and the work of establishing the university is in progress.
The church has also been blessed with the landmark of 100 years of Christian influence in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Kainantu district celebrated the first 100 years of the arrival of the Gospel of God's love in the Highlands. This is a milestone achievement by the grace of God.
We thank God for his love, which is revealed not only through the Word but also physically through the birth of his Son Jesus Christ, which we are looking forward to celebrating as usual this Christmas.
So, it has been a rewarding year. However, as we journeyed through the year, we have encountered many challenges as well.
Issues in our daily life, as well as national and global issues such as violence, sickness, death, war, hunger, climate change, ecological injustice, political instability, economic decline, and other forms of human suffering have affected many individuals, families, and communities.
These challenges indicate the reality of our broken world and our human struggle to find peace, freedom, and satisfaction.
Another big challenge we faced this year was the National General Election. The election has been described by many as the worst in the political history of PNG.
Up to now, we have not fully recovered yet from the election aftermath. There is still disunity within communities and instability within the government.
We should take these challenges as lessons to find new ways to rebuild our communities and nation. Therefore, we must take the challenges of 2022 as new opportunities for growth, reconciliation, and forgiveness to find peace and freedom.
It has been a remarkable year. Despite the challenges, life and mission continue with a new awakening and spirit of solidarity among Christians across the country.
It is exciting to see how God's Spirit is moving in His church, awakening believers to be much engaged and participate in the mission of God in the congregations and in the communities.
Many Christians are taking responsibility in the work of God, new congregations are emerging, new church buildings are dedicated, and new mission fields are opened up.
Mission work is growing and expanding as we see people being baptized. These are amazing stories of how God is working, creating faith, saving lives, and inspiring people in our communities and around the world.
Christmas reminds us again how God took the first step to reconcile us to himself by offering his Son to the world. The birth of Christ reveals God's love for us and for all mankind. It is Good News that gives us new hope and a new perspective on life beyond our present world.
It is comforting news that helps us to see ourselves beyond the grave into a life that is much more transforming and rewarding than the present life. It is good news of assurance that through Christ we find new strength, comfort, and peace in the midst of the negative forces that surround us and afflict us in the present world.
God reduced himself for our sake and came to the world through his Son, Jesus Christ. Christmas reminds us how the Son of God gave up his heavenly throne and was incarnated, becoming flesh and blood for our salvation.
We believe the incarnation story of the savior of mankind not through a scientific lens but by faith because we are convinced by the scripture to accept and believe in divine intervention of God in human history.
It is this history that makes Christianity different from other religions and the way in which we understand and relate to God.
Christmas reminds us that God comes to us through Christ and offers us new life. Therefore, I encourage you to reflect again on the importance of Christmas.
Make this Christmas meaningful through prayer and worship as you share the seasonal fellowship with your families and congregations. Take the meaning of God lowering Himself and making Himself small in the womb of Mary as a divine miracle to make you and us great in his Kingdom.
Looking at Christmas from another theological perspective, Christ is a peace Child of God. From this context, take Christmas as a time to change and mend the broken pieces in your lives, homes, families, communities, society, and nation.
Take Christmas as a time to renew, rebuild, and restore this brokenness so that you may find peace in Christ. The peace Child of God gives true peace to those who seek God's favor. He said, "My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives" (John 14:27).
Celebrate this Christmas in the true spirit of reconciliation, peace, and harmony. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and may the blessing of God be with you all!
Rt. Rev. Dr. Jack Urame (PhD)
Head Bishop of ELCPNG