At Christmas, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Saviour and Deliverer. In many Christmas songs, we sing of Him as the Saviour of the world:
“Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates! Behold, the King of glory waits. The King of kings is drawing near. The Saviour of the world is here.”
“Saviour of the world” means “Saviour of all mankind.” He is my Saviour and He is your Saviour. He is my Redeemer and your Redeemer. He is my Benefactor, and the Benefactor of my neighbour. Your Saviour is also the Saviour of that other person who is completely different from you—the one who does not behave as you do, who has a lifestyle that is completely foreign to you, who advocates opinions with which you do not agree in the slightest. But the mere fact that the other person is different from you does not mean that he is further removed from God! Our Lord and Saviour does not want our neighbour to become as we are. Rather He wants all of us to become as He is!
Of course, none of this is staggeringly new. But if we really take the message of Christmas seriously, we cannot help but accept our neighbour—and not only because everyone is good and kind to each other at Christmas, but rather because the Saviour of the world desires to grant His peace and salvation as much to my neighbour as to me.
Indeed, a joyful message for the whole world!
* Food for thought from a divine service by the Chief Apostle