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Season greetings with Merry Christmas
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-12-25 09:53:50
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These days have a special spirit at least for me that exist beyond religions and believe. Most likely an anthropologist would be much better than me to explain the meaning of the festivities that surround the Christmas period and a historian would be able to apply dates, periods and names behind the days. And then it is us, with our childhood memories, memories of giving and taking; memories of family and loved ones all together. I think this “all together” is the essence of the season’s spirit. The year, one more hard year, is reaching to a closure and we have the chance to be together and Santa Claus is a good excuse to realize how much we need each other and giving or taking presents is a good way to exhibit this need.

I know that all these sound a bit odd coming from an atheist but christmas is a good chance to thank and embrace each other, to share love understanding and most importantly the feeling that we are there for each other; something that sadly we forget the rest of the year.

And yes, I might tire you with my insistence but please remember that doesn’t matter religion or believes there are people who suffer and die from poverty even these days and embarrassingly in the beginning of the 21st century. Remember that even on Christmas day 30,000 kids will die somewhere in this globe from lack of food, water or basic care. Remember that hundreds of thousands will find themselves in the streets without a settler and a lot of them will never see the New Year. Remember – and I’m saying that with great pain – that even in my country, the country where democracy and freedom born, kids are left without food because Europe cares more for the prosperity of the banks than the welfare of the people. Remember that every single soul we are losing is a loss of our future in the universe and eternity.

Merry Christmas to everybody, merry Christmas to you and your families.

Thanos Kalamidas

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Emanuel Paparella2011-12-25 11:24:23

Indeed, as Pope Benedict XVI announced just a few hours ago at the Christmas celebratory midnight mass at the Vatican, we need to look beyond consumerism and glitter to understand the point of all the fuss at this time of the year. He also reminded us all, believers and non believers, that what may be at the root of our present economic difficulties is not a financial crisis but an ethical crisis. I suggest that we pondern the message overlooking if we need to, who the messanger is, if our concern, as people of good will is is one of social justice.

At that midnight mass in the Vatican, as well as all Catholic churces around the world, there was a reading which fathoms the depths of Christmas from a theological point of view, which is the most essential view, given the original nature (alas, all too oftern forgotten)of this wonderful yearly celebration. It is from the prologue of St. John’s gospel and in its condensed form goes like this:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .He was in the beginning with God. . . . All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being. . . in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. . . . The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

In those words written some two thousand years ago, you have the full meaning of Christmas: the belief that there is a creation and a beginning, that the universe has a meaning (“Word,” or the Greek Logos is sometimes translated as “the point of it all”) and a purpose, that the God who created it is providential and cares for it, to the point of taking a body and becoming Emmanu El, God with us within the human condition and providing the light needed in the darkness of the cave in which we live…

That is indeed good news which, were we able to really believe it, would bring us together and make the salvation of the euro or the dollar completely secondary and even irrelevant. Merry Christmas to all men of good will.


Eva2011-12-25 11:35:15
Merry Christmas!

Roman Stranger2011-12-25 17:32:39
Mr. Kalamidas,

The occasion is Christmas, not Clausmas. Yes?

Christmas Blessings to All

Panagiotis Koutakis2011-12-25 20:56:33
Merry Xmas to you, too!

Dimitra Karantzeni2011-12-26 12:17:35
Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gerard Farley2011-12-26 16:32:32
I think a good reflection for the "spirit of Christmas" is the chapter on Buddhism in John Paul II's book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope. "For Christianity, it does not make sense to speak of the world as a 'radical' evil since at the beginning of the world, we find God the Creator who loves his creation who "gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (Jn. 3:16) p.89 of text.

Emanuel Paparella2011-12-26 16:43:31
To continue the conversation with assorted Greek and Roman strangers, atheists and agnostics, believers and non believers at this special time of the year, allow me to include here the following verbatim passage from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy on the issue of faith and reason. Indeed, with all their extraordinary intelligence, the ancient Greeks would not never have arrived rationally to the idea of a Providential God, the Word who took on flesh and dwelt among us, no matter what rationalists of various persuasions would like to convince us of nowadays.


The writings attributed to St. Paul in the Christian Scriptures provide diverse interpretations of the relation between faith and reason. First, in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul himself engages in discussion with “certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers” at the Aeropagus in Athens (Acts 17:18). Here he champions the unity of the Christian God as the creator of all. God is “not far from any one of us.” Much of Paul’s speech, in fact, seems to allude to Stoic beliefs. It reflects a sympathy with pagan customs, handles the subject of idol worship gently, and appeals for a new examination of divinity not from the standpoint of creation, but from practical engagement with the world. However, he claims that this same God will one day come to judge all mankind. But in his famous passage from Romans 1:20, Paul is less obliging to non-Christians. Here he champions a natural theology against those pagans who would claim that, even on Christian grounds, their previous lack of access to the Christian God would absolve them from guilt for their nonbelief. Paul argues that in fact anyone can attain to the truth of God’s existence merely from using his or her reason to reflect on the natural world. Thus this strong compatibilist interpretation entailed a reduced tolerance for atheists and agnostics. Yet in 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul suggests a kind of incompatibilism, claiming that Christian revelation is folly the Gentiles (meaning Greeks). He points out that the world did not come to know God through wisdom; God chose to reveal Himself fully to those of simple faith. These diverse Pauline interpretations of the relation between faith and reason were to continue to manifest themselves in various ways through the centuries that followed.

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