Message of Christmas- May the Lord open our Mind for His Wisdom! Girma Kassa

December 24th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Our Lord Jesus (or Issa) is worshipped by Christians as the Son of the Living God and adored by Muslims as a Prophet. It was His birth two thousand years ago in Bethlehem that we commemorate and celebrate as Christmas or “Genna”.

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. According to the Gospel of Luke, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and told them the good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. A great company of the heavenly host (angels) appeared praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all men.”

The message of Christmas is a message of joy and peace. One of the heavenly declarations during that holy night is that peace is on Earth to all men. Our Lord Jesus Christ has come to the world to give us true peace that does not depend on external circumstances, but that springs out from within our heart.

In this modern world, the lack of peace and internal security severely affects many aspects or dimensions of our lives: personal, family, and national.

Suicides, addictions, and alcoholism are all manifestations of the lack of internal peace within individuals. According to official statistics, about a million people around the world commit suicide annually, more than those murdered or killed in wars. Some suicides may be explained by situational or cultural underpinnings. For instance, the suicide of Emperor Thewodros is one such example that is celebrated by Ethiopians and has become a symbol of the refusal of Ethiopians to British Colonialism for more than a century. Setting aside these generally unique cases, it is worth noting that depression is the leading cause of suicide. Suicide, simply put, is the lack of internal peace and security.

That is why the message of Christmas as a message of peace is important in the world today. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all men, ” declared the angels. All of us are important to God. There is something unique that we can accomplish that no-one can. We may loose in one night what we have labored for years. We may learn distressing news about our health or we may have difficulty providing for our children. We may be lonely and betrayed by our dear friends. We may loose loved ones and be at the bottom of society. We may lose hope in our lives and feel hollow and empty on the inside. Others may bully us and we may come to believe that that we are good for nothing. We may continuously blame ourselves for a past mistake and come to lose our purpose in our life completely.

However, I declare the message of Christmas: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to all men”. This is a heavenly message to each one of us. It is a message of hope, peace and joy. It is a message that reminds us that there are always alternatives. The stormy season will surely pass and spring will come. We should give ourselves second chances. We should tell ourselves that we are human beings created in the image of God for a unique and a noble cause. We may not be needed by others but we are important to God. We should stop blaming ourselves for what we did years ago. Instead, let us make use of our past mistakes to make our future a better one. Let us open our heart to a new beginning and a holy message of Christmas which is a message of joy, peace, and reconciliation.

Another important dimension of peace is the peace among fellow human beings. Here again, we see that the message of Christmas has a dimension that brings people together. It is in our nature to be slow to love and forgive but be quick to hate and judge, slow to build but quick to destroy. Many couples who shared their lives together may no longer dine at the same table. There may be some childhood friends who do not talk to each other anymore. What we have learned from our culture and our society may be hate towards a certain group of our population. Our hearts, whatever the reasons, may be filled with bitterness and rage against other fellow Ethiopians. But, the message of Christmas; the message of peace, love and forgiveness can provide fundamental changes in our perspectives and attitudes. It is a message that gives us the opportunity to see life from a different angle and a divine perspective. The message of Christmas is a message that says, ” LOVE and COMPASSION are more powerful than hate. MERCY and FORGIVENESS are more powerful that revenge.”

Let us create an opportunity for divorcees to reconsider and restore their marriages. Let us remember more the good days we have spent together than those few days that set us apart. The message of Christmas is a message that focuses on the positives. Let children go to sleep kissing their fathers and mothers every night. Let there be peace and joy in all families so they may sing, “Joy to the World” sitting around the Christmas tree. Let the whole family praise God with “Tsenatsil” and “Kebero” saying “AMAN BE AMAN ; TEWELEDE MEDHANE ALEM/ the Savior of the World is born “

The third dimension is peace in our world. All over the world, human beings are dying in hundreds and thousands in man-made wars and conflicts. The lack of peace is destroying cities, villages and countries. Ethiopia has been embroiled in such misery for generations. Compared to the Derg era, the current situation in Ethiopia may seem stable on the surface. However, with a one party absolute rule and a very narrow political space , the return to the old era of war and destruction cannot be ruled out. Temporary stability cannot, by any means, be considerd “peace”.

Ethiopia has some clear choices to make:

• It can either be like Somalia where one group of the population dominates the rest, where its citizens flee the country by the millions, where attacks and counterattacks destroy the social fabrics of society or it can be like South Africa where mercy and reconciliation rescues the country from its ugly past.

• It can either continue being a country at the peripheries of implosion, the poorest of the poor entirely dependent on outsiders to feed its people or it can be a country which is self-sufficient and food secure.

• It can either be a country where the government rules its people with an iron fist and by the power of the gun or it can be a country where a forward looking and civilized system by the people, for the people and of the people is established.

• It can either choose to be divided in to ethnic groups and immerse itself in ethnic tensions like Bosnia Herzegovina and Darfur or it can choose to live together as a multi-ethnic country where all Ethiopians are respected regardless of their age, gender, religion and ethnic affiliations.

• It can either allow itself to disintegrate and vanish from the face of the Earth despite its proud history or it can emerge as a major power of the black continent of Africa.

• It can either realize full political freedoms, the release of all political prisoners, reporters, human right activists and unfettered individuals’ rights; or it can decide to be a backward and a medieval country.

• It can either be a country where its children come together, forgive one another, and give peace a chance or it can be a country where the current animosity between brothers continues to thrive.

Let the Spirit of Christmas help Ethiopia make the right choices. Let peace, wisdom, and knowledge fill the hearts and minds of the authorities in Arat Kilo. Peace is not something that can either be imposed or exported from the outside. Peace is not a gift from the Americans and the Europeans. Peace is not a product of the United Nations. Peace is something that comes from within. Unless we Ethiopians solve our problems ourselves, it is naïve to expect to receive it from outsiders.

We are the only solution to our problems. We are the ones who can turn around the fate our country. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “nothing can bring us peace but ourselves.” Peace is not stability; nor is it the lack of gun fires. Peace is freedom and joy and a life lived without fear and torment. There is no peace where there is fear. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom,” said Malcolm-X. There is no peace where there is no freedom. There is no peace where there is no joy.

It is in this context that I call for the good conscious of the EPRDF officials to do the right thing and give true peace a chance. The ball is in their court. The EPRDF controls the economy, the army, the judiciary and the parliament. It controls everything in Ethiopia. If it chooses to, it can bring peace and hope to that country and its 77 millions inhabitants in a matter of weeks. Although it might be considered a defeat at the beginning, if the EPRDF takes courageous and bold reconciliatory moves now, it would surely be vindicated as the ultimate winner in the history books. EPRDF must unilaterally take bold moves and call for a serious dialog between itself and the main opposition parties who are functioning peacefully within Ethiopia and are abiding by the constitution.

With respect to armed groups, most of whom are based in Asmara, they should recognize war’s heavy costs and be ready to have a dialog with the EPRDF. They must not slam the door shut for peace and reconciliation.

It is my hope and prayer that the leadership of the EPRDF will look beyond the horizon and above their individual prides, and take historic steps at this historic moment in this historic country of ours. It is my hope armed groups will renounce violence, lay down their arms and come to the negotiating table. It is my hope that all parties will come to recognize that the culture of violence does not work in Ethiopia anymore. We are tired of an Ethiopian killing another Ethiopian. We are tired of seeing the blood of our brothers and sisters shed in vain. We are tired of hearing gun fires. We are tired of smelling powders from explosives. We are tired of spending billions of dollars on weapons. What we want is bread, water, peace and the chance to live with dignity in that great country of ours which is called ‘ETHIOPIA”.

Message of Christmas- May the Lord open our Mind for His Wisdom!

  1. mohammed
    | #1

    egyptians worry them about the dam in ethiopia.

    i am worry about the ethiopians who are under weyanes dam its like if you goto addis every one you can see a person who is driving mercdece-benz

    and the guy who sitting on the street and beg both of them they look the same you can not see any happines in their face .

    there is some kind of tension, worry, being suspicious, like some thing
    is missing in their life its an explosion which worries me.

    thats the DAM am talking about which worries me ones this dam gets littel crak
    not weyane alah help us no one ever control this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Assta B. Gettu
    | #2

    Mr. Girma Kassa’s Christmas message seems appealing to some Christians who do not understand the implication of the first paragraph: “Our Lord Jesus (or Issa) is worshipped by Christians as the Son of the Living God and adored by Muslims as a Prophet. It was His birth two thousand years ago in Bethlehem that we commemorate and celebrate as Christmas or “Genna”.”

    One cannot misrepresent Jesus Christ as a prophet adored by Muslims in order to please the Muslims. Jesus Christ is more than the Muslims think as an adored prophet.

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 1:1-2; 5:7).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is the creator of heaven and earth (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world (John 12:47).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus is a miracle worker, healer of the sick (Luke 3:23; Matthew 11:5; John 6:5-14.

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus forgives sins (Matthew 9:2-6; Mark 2:5-10).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus rose from the dead, but all the other prophets remain dead till this day (1st Corinthians 15:3-4).

    More than a Muslim prophet, all who believe in Jesus Christ have everlasting life (John 3:36; Matthew 25:41).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus is God (John 20:28).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus is Lord (Matthew 22:43-44).

    More than a Muslim Prophet, Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus is the Messiah (John 4:25-26).

    More than a Muslim Prophet, Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8; 22:13).

    More than a Muslim Prophet, Jesus Christ is the Redeemer (Mark 10:45; Titus 2:14).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12; 3:19-21).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is Ruler of creation (Revelation 3:14).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is the only Mediator (1st Timothy 2:5).

    More than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

    Finally, more than a Muslim prophet, Jesus Christ will come again: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1st Thess.4:16).

    Dear Kassa, one cannot compromise the real history of Jesus Christ with those people who do not accept his divinity, with those who simply say that Jesus Christ is a mere man and a prophet, and at that below the Prophet Muhammad.

    Our Muslim friends believe that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God: “God is Unique! God, the Source [of everything]. He has not fathered anyone nor was He fathered, and there is nothing comparable to Him!” (Quran 112:1-4). They also believe that Jesus was not killed on the cross: “They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did.” (Quran 4:157)

    Therefore, Mr. Kassa, send the true message of Christmas untainted with an Islamic teaching. Don’t mix it up, please! The nature of Christ is purity, honesty, reliability, generosity, and gracefulness.

    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

    Assta B. Gettu

  3. Tezera
    | #3

    i thank writer for good message. I wish government/eprdf listen this man and all ethiopians. Please let us bring peace, please let us listen eachother. please please solve our problems togeter.

    thank you for good christmas message. thank you!!!!!!

    Marry Christmas to all ethiopians!!!!!!

  4. Assefa thanks god
    | #4

    thanks girma kassa for your message merry christmas and happy new year too from Assefa Raya

  5. Birhanu Demeke/Ethiopiawiu
    | #5

    I carefully read Girma Kasa’s article concerning his recommendation of reconciliation between TPLF and Ethiopian based Opposition and an appeal to the armed Opposition based in Asmara to disarm and seek dialog with TPLF,reason being to avoid national catastrophe based on our past,the present reality of the political Ethiopia,the dislike of war and nonstop killing of one another and all this political immaturity and wrong doings may take Ethiopia to Somalia kind of situation, if not stopped on time.The content of the message is courageous although it falls short of completeness and wholeness.I for one may suggest the following to strengthen Girma’s message.First of all,does TPLF believe that it is an Ethiopian?does TPLF consider Ethiopians as people and Ethiopia as a country?is TPLF ready to admit all its deliberate crimes and injustice it has and continue committing against Ethiopia and the Ethiopian People?does TPLF acknowledge that ethnic federalism{bantustanaization}is a threat to the survival of Ethiopia and the collective well being of the Ethiopian People?is TPLF ready to seek for true national reconciliation and forgiveness,for the sake of our survival?,if TPLF is truly ready to answer for the above questions it could be like that of the last South African apartheid regime,ready to be part and parcel of the solution as was the problem.The end result of this whole thing shall lead to the rebirth of Ethiopia or its resurrection.There fore I recommend the following,1, reconciliation ought to include all stake holders and roll players,2,an independent truth and reconciliation commission has to be established to bring true reconciliation,3,the venue for the reconciliation has to be Ethiopia,4, friends of Ethiopia have to guarantee for the safety of the exiled opposition negotiators,5,TPLF and some others have to admit all their guilt and seek forgiveness from the Ethiopian People and Oppositions,6,Ethiopian scholars have to be selected and appointed to draft a pan Ethiopian constitution which guarantee the collective human right, democracy and justice for all the Ethiopian people,which also guarantee the territorial integrity of Ethiopia,7,an independent electoral commission has to be established for the purpose of conducting truly free and fair election,8,all state organs have to be reorganized and mobilized in a pan Ethiopian way to conduct their lawful activities with out the interference of any entity including TPLF so that they may deliver the much needed service for their people and country.I believe that is the way forward,if TPLF comes to its senses to be a part of the solution it has created, if not it would vise versa.God Bless Ethiopia and all her children.

  6. mohammed
    | #6

    you keep you jesuse as your god

    we keep our isa as our prophet.

    leave our prophet (pah)alone .

    hager jegara new haimanot yegel new.

  7. Peace and Harmony
    | #7

    One of the rules of being a Christian is to be compassionate, loving, tolerant and understanding of others regardless one is Muslim or Christian. Mohammed, I agree totaly with what the late Haile Selassie put it eloquently ~~ “Hagre yegara newe haymanote yegele new” .Not only Christians in Ethiopia, every one in the world should practice this important message. Our Ethiopian Christians and Muslims have been living with mutual respect for hundreds of years and let us hope it continue the same way. It is a great shame and a disgrace that in the last few days alone Christians in Nigeria and Iraq have been bombed and killed for just being Christians. Only Satan brings heartache, distractions, misery and death. One has to be a complete idiot and delusional to think destroying innocent lives is going to take them to heaven. Don’t these coldhearted killers know that If the Almighty God/Allah wants us dead Allah is capable of just that? If they believe God/Allah is the creator of heaven and earth–why does their Allah need their assistance to kill one of God’s children and create total misery? The real God/Allah is the most loving, caring, compassionate, patient, kind, forgiving and tolerant. And the only thing God/Allah expects from us is to love one another and be kind to one another. And in the other hand, Satan lives for distraction, hate, killing and misery. God/Allah has given us a free will to choose which side we want to be on.

  8. Assta B. Gettu
    | #8

    This earth of ours has never been a planet of peace: It has been a battlefield throughout the ages. There was war of words between God and his first creatures, Adam and Eve; there was war of killing between Cain and Abel, the offspring of Adam and Eve. And from Adam and Eve down to the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, there had been great wars and loses of uncountable human beings. We thought there would be a lasting peace on this earth when Jesus was walking, eating with us, and talking to us and teaching us, or at least the Jews thought that way when they followed him, singing: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9) They thought he would drive out the Romans from the land of Israel, establish the Jewish kingdom, and liberate them from their enemies. When things didn’t work out their own ways, they changed their song “Hosanna in the highest!” to a bloody song: “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (Luke 23:21)

    The Jews and the rest of us are always very slaw to comprehend what Jesus, our Lord and savior, had said: “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36) We now understand why Jesus came to us: he came to us to prepare us for his eternal kingdom, not for the kingdom of this evanescent world, and that is why many Christians pray day and night, saying: “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

    Therefore, the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to this fragile earth is not to end the temporary conflict we have created ourselves but to end the final conflict between us and our enemy the devil who was thrown down to earth: “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” (Revelation 12:9) Therefore, our fight should be with this monster, the devil and his angels, not with our fellowmen and fellow women as the Apostle Paul said: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

    Let us fight sin, corruption, selfishness, greed, lust, injustice, terrorism, and the source of it – Islam!

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