Responding to the recent terrorist attack in Berlin, a local newspaper ran a front-page photograph of a Christmas tree standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate, the image inscribed with three timely and heartening words, “Be not afraid” Luke 2:10, ASV
Many in Europe are afraid right now. With terror attacks playing out in more and more cities, with xenophobia and racism on the rise, and centrist politicians being booted from office in several recent elections, many are wondering if Europe can even hold it together.
Some are losing hope.
In a faith saturated Globe and Mail editorial this morning, Timothy Garton Ash wrote of how he still has hope, and how he bases that hope on the strength of German society; Europe’s economic, geographic and social center.
“The deeper challenge is whether German society has the strength to live up to the liberal ideal that [Chancellor] Merkel evoked in her initial, restrained and dignified remarks [to the terrorist act], defending “the life that we want to live in Germany: free, together and open.”, Garton Ash writes.
And then he states three reasons why he thinks the liberal ideals of Germany will hold. First, a strong economy leaves a lot of economic room for the integration of the other. Second, a responsible local press protects the populace from unmerited fear as it refuses to give voice to enflamed rhetoric. And third, the memory of Germany’s painful World War II history is now its greatest strength.
“And that brings us to probably the most important reason [for hope] of all: Adolf Hitler. Precisely because Germany once had the diabolic epitome of populist xenophobia, it is now most resistant to it. Pray to God that taboo holds, for if it doesn’t, heaven help us all.”
Pray to God indeed.
As Christians we often talk about how God transforms broken circumstances for good. To now see this truth (hopefully) playing out, over a 70 year swath of European history, is deeply compelling. How beautiful that God would use one of the most heinous chapters of human history to restrain and compel a people to do the right thing now, to choose to not live in fear, to choose to continue to be “free, together and open”.
Talk about re-deeming a nation, and making the crooked straight, and shining a light in the darkness!
“Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11, ASV
On that first Christmas Eve, heaven and earth came together to proclaim the most hopeful news imaginable – that God sees our plight and that he has come to save us; God is with us and we are not alone.
Thankfully, the God who makes all thing new isn’t done with his world.
Brandenburg image – Daily Mail