Christmas Eve



When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the times of King Herod, the Magi from the East came and asked: Where is the newborn King of Jews? We saw His star in the East and came to worship Him. 


In modern Russia we are surrounded by many stars. Firstly, these are the stars which decorate historical monuments of the 20th century. A red five-angled star became the symbol of the Soviet regime. It was displayed on banners and medals, tanks and weapons, on administrative buildings and the main architectural symbol of the country – Moscow Kremlin. Now these stars do not have that unique meaning, they are in the ensemble with eagles, crosses of restored churches, Muslim crescents and David's mogens of the synagogues. However, there is nothing surprising in this sophisticated city landscape. It is typical for history, tragedies and declines happen in it. It is impossible to wipe the most painful and black pages of people's biography, they leave scars, wounds and open questions. Russia absorbed blood of martyrs, which like the blood of Old Testament Abel cries to the Lord from the earth and resurrects according to the promise of Jesus Christ - “here I create all new”. 


Secondly, there are people who become stars, to be more exact, others make them stars. Stars of cinema, television, music, arts, politics become more than simple people for us. As a rule we idealize them and imagine non-existing qualities for them. This illusion is formed by an inner need of humans in ideals, this illusion being fed by propaganda and commercials. These stars are therefore not only worthy and gifted people, but also dictators and swindlers. But the most terrible thing is when a star becomes an idol, which controls conscience and will. The fall of such a star leads to the fall of its worshipers. 


And finally, let us have a look at the night starry sky. If you go to the countryside, one look will be enough to begin to admire as Immanuel Kant said: “Two things fill the soul with new and strong awe – the starry sky and the moral law inside me”. Yes, the starry sky as the whole creation is full of God's majesty. Every time we are convinced in it, when we look up in the sky or look in the mirror of our conscience.


The same idea was expressed by the psalmist, who says: “When I look at the sky, the fruit of your fingers, at the moon and stars, which you put, then who is the human being, that you remember about him and visit him?” (Ps 8:4,5).  

The comparison of the wonder of creation with the mortal human essence seems to be inadequate. However, the Creator Himself determines this position for the human being. He puts His image in him and grants him His Own qualities. That is why the psalm goes on: “You made the human not less than angels, you crowned him with glory and honor”. In these words there is the will of God for each of us. The Lord makes us responsible for the creation. He considers us as personalities, who disclose His holy image. He puts us higher than nameless stars and has a particular plan for each person. This plan is not to make stars or super-heroes out of us. His will is to heal us from being blind and deaf, to teach us see and hear.  


Accepting God's grace and getting to know God better, we are sanctified and start to notice things which were not important for us before. Thus, the Bible stops being simply a book for us, people around us are no longer coincidental fellow-travelers, and our life is revealed for us in the light of God's salvation plan. The word of God becomes for us same thing a lamp is for a wanderer in the night. 


Who were those Magi who followed the star of Christmas? Were they scholars who found out the right route to the place of birth of Jesus? Or were they whose who trusted the call of God and were full of admiration and great joy, like children? They could find right priorities in their wisdom, they rejoiced in God's miracle. They heard among many voices of their reason the unique divine voice which sent them to Bethlehem.  


We hear many voices of wise men and swindlers, we are captured by a lot of information and opinions, it is difficult to sort what we heard and saw. And observing our cities we won't find an ideal or harmony there, just like inside ourselves. However, God does not leave us alone, He calls us to follow Him as He called the Magi to come and worship the newborn Savior. He brings us the good news of His presence. He helps us to to see the valuable things. He helps us to hear His fatherly voice. And nothing will confuse us: either red stars of the past, or stars of the present-day reality, we will always see the star showing us the way. 


The star showed the way to wise men to the Savior Jesus Christ. May this star of Bethlehem remind us about the value of Christmas. May it show our spiritual way to newborn Christ, whose helplessness and humility bring liberation and victory over the evil, death and sin. May the star of God always enlighten our way, so that we don't wander in darkness, but become children of light.  


Bishop Dietrich Brauer