Christmas is a holiday celebrating hope and consolation, which is “demonstrated most clearly in difficult times”, the head of the Hungarian Catholic Church told MTI. According to the Reformed Church’s chief, “we will celebrate Christmas with more modesty and restraint” but “a forced adjustment in our lives” may let us get closer “to discovering the genuine secret of Christmas.” Leader of the Lutheran Church also said that Christmas this year could be ‘restrained but true.’
Hungarian Catholic Church leader Cardinal Péter Erdő said it was “comforting to see that we have been given abilities with which we can fight against new diseases or natural disasters”. Concerning the coronavirus pandemic, he said that
“there might now be a light at the end of this dark period”
and “if we manage to find a drug against the virus it will be a gift from our Creator”.
Christmas this year has brought “a number of challenges, sacrifice and abnegation” but “fighting hardships and making our loved ones happy may make the holiday especially beautiful”, the cardinal said.
Reformed Church: forced adjustment may let us get closer to discovering the genuine secret of Christmas
Given the pandemic situation, “we will celebrate Christmas with more modesty and restraint” this year, but “a forced adjustment in our lives” may let us get closer “to discovering the genuine secret of Christmas”, the head of the Hungarian Reformed Church’s synod said in his message.
“This year, we will probably be able to feel how God appeared in the turbulent and restless world of people, how light shone in darkness and how all this gave man hope…,”
Bishop István Bogárdi Szabó told MTI. “Christmas would always open up the future, no matter how sad the situation, because it can surely never be so that there is no hope,” he said.
He said that the pandemic situation “has taught the churches” to utilise online platforms and social media in administering masses and conveying messages. The bishop expressed hope that through “messages still valid” the Reformed Church can “turn people towards Christian communities”.
Assessing his 18 years of religious service, Bogárdi Szabó called it the Hungarian Reformed Church’s achievement that “since getting free from the embrace of a dictatorship in a democratic transition [in 1989-90] our community “has found its way around in a happier existence in society”.
Bogárdi Szabó will conclude service at the end of December.
Lutheran Church: Christmas this year could be ‘restrained but true’
Christmas this year must be celebrated “in a restrained and quiet way” but
“an involuntary halt of life could provide us more time for ourselves and for other people, and doing so may allow more time for God, too”,
Hungarian Lutheran Church leader Bishop Tamás Fabiny said. Love for ones we cannot meet this time could be expressed through “a number of gestures” such as telephone calls or letters, Fabiny said. Concerning the coronavirus pandemic, the bishop said that though it inflicted the whole world, Jesus’s birth was good tidings for the whole of the world, too.
Fabiny said that the enthusiasm of believers attending online services in large numbers during the first wave of the epidemic have now ebbed, because “people are overwhelmed by the broadcasts and quarantine videos flooding them from all directions” and warned that “we must return to the practice of addressing people individually” rather than just “send the message into the air and hope that there will be somebody to listen”.
featured image illustration via Balázs Mohai/MTI