"Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace to men, whom God loves" is a praise to God proclaimed by the heavenly host that joins the angel who had announced to the shepherds the good news that in Bethlehem, the city of David, a Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord, had been born. But the sign of the event is disconcerting: "you will find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (cf. Lk 2:8-14). The sign is one of poverty and simplicity.

God loves us, this is a fact. He goes ahead to love us. His desire is that we may have peace in all that affects us personally: inner peace, family peace, peace in our relationships. A desire for peace that also has a public and political dimension: that the earth may live in peace, that Isaiah's prophecy may be fulfilled, that spears will be forged into pruning hooks and no nation will rise up against another, nor will they engage in war any more (cf. Is 2:4).

However, the stubborn reality of our times shows how difficult it is to see this prophecy come true. Ongoing wars close to us, such as those in the Ukraine and in the Holy Land that Jesus the Lord walked through, can lead us to think that the sin of violence is ingrained in us and has become entrenched. The Church's proposal in the Middle Ages was Peace and Truce of God, which advocated social peace and the limitation of the violence of war. A proposal that continues today on the lips of Francis, successor of Peter.

The birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, which we celebrate these days full of hope, restores our longing for peace and reaffirms our hope that another better world is possible, a world based on justice and law. Without God's gift to us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, our Messiah and Lord, the world would be doomed to sorrow and discouragement. Therefore, we trust and hope for a new heaven and a new earth, for "to us a child is born, to us a son is given... and his name shall be called... Prince of Peace" (cf. Is 9:6).

On 10 December we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in Paris in 1948. Despite the fact that they are not always respected, this declaration is a cry that fills us with hope because it is a step that updates what we read in the psalm: "Justice and peace kiss each other... justice looks down from heaven" (Psalm 85:11-12).

Christmas is peace, Christmas is hope. The European Christian Workers' Movement is comforted by the saving proposal that God makes to us through Jesus Christ, born in the simplicity of the manger, poor among the poor. It is up to us to make Jesus present in our environment, in our workplaces, in our families so that, with his strength and our faithful following in his footsteps, we deserve to be called blessed because we work for peace, because we are factors of hope wherever we are. May God bless you, your families and your movements.



Olinda Marques - Karl Brunner - Sonja Schöpfer - Jimenez Montejo Josep - Armin Hürner