Christmas Message from LWF President Mark S. Hanson

Christmas 2004

Message from Bishop Mark S. Hanson

President of the Lutheran World Federation

Dear sisters and brothers in the worldwide Lutheran communion:

For God so loved the world . . . begins the familiar verse from the Gospel of John.

Is it still true? Does God not see what humanity is doing to the world so loved by God? Is this world still loved by God as it trembles and weeps over genocide and environmental degradation, separation walls and warring people, exploitation and domination?

Listen. The song of the angels interrupts our trembling and weeping, announcing the birth of a Savior, praising God, and proclaiming peace on earth. The song of the angels becomes our song, and 65 million Lutheran Christians throughout the world joyfully proclaim the Word become flesh.

We sing with joy and strength because God is present whenever the Word is proclaimed and the bread and wine shared. We become Christs Body in and for the sake of the world. We confess that the work and ways of God are revealed most fully in Jesus Christ and acknowledge that Christ is revealed most deeply in brokenness and suffering.

As we once again sing the angels song this Christmas season, the gift we offer as the Lutheran Communion is our renewed commitment to sing the song of hope for people everywhere. We sing it as we bring water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, justice to those treated unfairly, dignity to the victims, and hope to all creation through the transforming message of salvation. God indeed dwells with us, taking on the suffering of the world that God still loves so well.

Let us together, each in our own language, sing the angels song: Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favors (Luke 2:14).

In Gods grace,

Bishop Mark S. Hanson

President, The Lutheran World Federation

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