Düsseldorf, Germany—A holiday celebration held by UPF of Düsseldorf featured a talk on the true meaning of Christmas.
About 100 guests attended the celebration on December 16, 2017. The premises were festively decorated and the tables laden with homemade cookies and other tasty treats, coffee and tea.
After a warm welcome by the emcees Anja and Sergio Brina, the guests sang Christmas carols together. This was followed by a reading of the Christmas story from the Bible by Ambassador for Peace Petra Heuwind-Saidy. Then Erika Kamura on the piano and Andy Chen on the violin played J.S. Bach’s Jesus My Friend, creating a truly beautiful atmosphere.
The Christmas address, delivered by Herbert Beyer of UPF-Düsseldorf, focused on the meaning that Christmas has for us today. Nowadays Christmas is celebrated by many nominal Christians or even non-Christians, and the main emphasis is on pleasure and consumption. But God wished to allow the world a new start, Mr. Beyer said, which is why He sent Jesus to humankind as the Messiah. Because of the Fall, God’s ideal, the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, was destroyed. In his lifetime, Jesus brought new possibilities for humankind to find God and experience His love, but unfortunately the prepared people of the time did not believe in him and thus Jesus had to go the way of the cross, Mr. Beyer said. Jesus lived an exemplary life, showing a love that transcended national boundaries, skin color and race. And now, even 2,000 years after Jesus’ birth, we still are seeking solutions for humankind’s problems and conflicts. Jesus promised his disciples that he would return and bring complete salvation, Mr. Beyer said, and thus it is important to honor his birthday, to understand the meaning of Christmas, and to prepare for his return.
Mr. Beyer ended by announcing a World Peace Blessing which is scheduled to be held in Germany in February 2018.
A further musical contribution, Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, played by Erika Kamura and Andy Chen, was greeted with much applause.
Anja Brina had prepared the small ceremony which followed: On each table was a candle, and at each table, one representative took the candle and passed it on to his or her neighbor with best wishes for peace. For many, this was a most moving moment.
After greetings from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community of Cologne and a short, amusing Christmas story about an angel, the guests sang another Christmas carol. Erika Kamura and Andy Chen played the Meditation from the opera Thaïs, and all received a present from under the lovingly decorated tree. What a beautiful few hours we shared together, to round off the year!