Conflict, terror and fear are three words that I think of when I look back at this year. The current feelings of so many Europeans are in many ways opposed to the message of Christmas. For this reason, the message of Christmas, which is of infinite importance, is this year also a very concrete message to all those who have suffered or have been discouraged.
In Luke 2:10 the angel said to the shepherds: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
The phrase “fear not” is occurring in the Bible just as many as there are days in a year. So every day, we are told not to fear. Our member and Romanian senator Ben-Oni Ardelean shared this message with the attendants of the European Prayer Breakfast a few weeks ago in Brussels. A relevant message as the whole city was still on a high alert because of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Fear is also the tactic used by IS. It is used to intimidate the local peoples in Syria and Iraq and it is used to frighten Europeans for anyone with a Muslim background. It creates division, disconnection and feeds disorder. Of course, the large refugee influx this year creates many challenges for European nations and if we stop fearing this does not mean everything is solved instantly. On the other hand it is essential to realize that fearing the other solves no problem at all.
Therefore, we need to start replacing our fear with faith. Not the faith in an ever increasing European technocratic apparatus. Not the faith that governments can easily solve these problems. No, we need to restore the faith in ourselves as Christians and Europeans. The faith that our values are strong enough to handle an influx of people who have a different belief or culture. The faith that most refugees who are coming are willing to contribute to our societies. Faith that together we will be able to effectively combat the small minority that comes to Europe with different reasons and intentions.
But most of all, we need to have faith because we serve a King that is victorious, now and for ever. And with Christmas, we celebrate the birth of that King: Jesus Christ. And Jesus promised us that when we approach this world with faith, He will be with us.
In conclusion, I want to express my gratitude to all our members, partners and staff. I am especially pleased with welcoming two new parties in our movement: Right of the Republic from Poland and the Christian-democratic Party of France. Besides this, I am very grateful that our Croatian member Hrast entered the Croatian parliament for the first time.
Last but not least I want to thank the members of the ECPM Board and staff with who I enjoy working with for many years already. On behalf of the Board and staff I wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed and hopeful 2016!