Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed has extended his Christmas (Gena) message to all Christian faithful.
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar and celebrates Christmas on January 7th, while the rest of the world, who follows the Gregorian calendar, celebrates on 25th of December.
Below is the Prime Minister’s message in full:
Wishing you a joyous celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is a holiday of unity which marks dissolution of separation and enmity.It is a celebration that marks the unification of humans and God, heaven and earth, soul and body, humans and angles.Hence, we should celebrate this holiday by eliminating separation and divisions. Natural distinctions do not divide people since they are the beauty marks granted to them from the Creator. Diversity in sex, colour, nationality, language, thinking, perspective and more are our treasures that testify the wisdom of the almighty.
Nature exists in harmony enveloped within diversity. Its diverse components cannot stand in separation from the others. Harmonious interaction is what continues the existence of creation. Nature understands the golden balance between unity and diversity. Christmas is a holiday which reminds us of this golden balance.
Through the birth of Christ, man and God, shepherd and king, men and women, child and elder, lion and calf connected in a manger. Their meeting in the manger is based on forgiveness and love. Enmity was destroyed, division was abolished, accusation was eliminated, vengeance was erased in that meeting. Since they connected in that manger in unity, they made history happen, they were glorified and became partakers of eternal glory.
Ethiopia is our manger of pride. Diverse communities, thoughts, religions, cultures, histories, languages and knowledge have made Ethiopia their common abode. All nation nationalities residing in Ethiopia’s manger are adorned with the glory of being Ethiopian.
Being Ethiopian, just like the manger in Bethlehem, is where division, separation and enmity lose ground. There are always those like Herod who would try to destroy Ethiopia’s unity and attempt to build enmity. They are terrified with the light in the manger, frightened with its glory, discomforted by its unity and troubled by its love and peace.
Those belonging to Herod raise their swords to challenge this unique love, unity, and peace. They will not have the chance to meet Christ, the virgin Mary, Salome, the shepherds or the wise men. Their swords rest on the innocent children of Bethlehem.
Millions of pilgrims make their way to Bethlehem to celebrate the wonderful miracle that happened two thousand years ago. When we carry with us the treasures of our diversity and solidify our unity as Ethiopians; and we testify that differences are not divisions and that unity does not amount to assimilation, only then can we move past the Herods of our time to make history that anchors the generations to come. It will not be long for millions to journey to Ethiopia, as they do to Bethlehem, to witness this monumental history.