World Council of Churches Christmas Message (20 years ago)

20 years ago — December 18-25, 2000

It has been a centuries-old unwritten rule that at Christmas a ceasefire be observed in all situations of military conflict. Will this be the case this year as well? … From Sierra Leone to Indonesia, from Israel and Palestine to Sri Lanka, from Columbia to Chechnya, our world seems to be engulfed in a deadly cycle of war, violence and destruction. A real culture of violence has taken root and is spreading, in open contempt of all the rules of humanitarian law. It manifests itself not only in armed conflict. Violence has become omnipresent in the streets, in subways, in schools and sports stadiums, in families and homes. Its victims are most often those who are different: members of ethnic, racial or religious minorities; refugees; people with disabilities; or simply the poor and marginalized. …
Each year at Christmas, we hear the message of the angels …”on Earth peace”… . We celebrate the birth of the “Prince of Peace”… . As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us consider what we can contribute to overcoming violence and building a culture of peace.

From the World Council of Churches Christmas Message by Konrad Raiser, general secretary