Christmas Edition

Elena Lunz and Lilian Kurz, PIRON Global Development

20201207_FIDM Christmas Edition Editorial

How can Christians celebrate Christmas during the COVID-19 pandemic? This question is subject to intensive debates in Christian-majority countries. The Christmas season is an important season in many countries with traditions, such as Christmas markets, choir singing events and crowded church services for the whole family. There is a variety of opinions in the lively debate on the appropriate level of restrictions during these important national holidays in many countries. In Germany, where we are based, around 70 percent of the population approve the modest relaxation of contact restrictions during the Christmas holidays. Critics call the relaxation of regulations irrational and reflecting a “political Christianity”. However, proclaiming political Christianity in a country such as Germany, which since years registers declining numbers of church memberships and churchgoers, falls a bit short of understanding the role of Christmas in society.

Rather, the widespread desire to celebrate Christmas in a familiar way reflects the societal and individual need for community and family, solemnity, rest and contemplation. Performing well-known rituals helps structuring a socially monotonous year.

Religion, may it be Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or other forms of socially organized spirituality, provides the frame for important societal values to flourish. Religious festivities are an occasion to celebrate, to come together with family and friends, and to share joy. We can enjoy special moments that punctuate with everyday life. This is true for believers and for those who do not affiliate with a religion. One value – shared by all major religions as well as humanism – stands out: the golden rule: treating others the same way one wants to be treated. This value is lived out most profoundly during the Christmas season in many Christian-majority countries. It brings with it solidarity, empathy and caring for the most vulnerable of society. This is why the Christmas season is also known as “donation season”, accounting for about 20 percent of the annual contributions to non-profit organizations.

The golden rule, and the solidarity it encourages, are much needed societal values to get through this pandemic in a humane way. Regulations on physical distancing cannot be fully enforced by state authorities but rely on individual choices for collective good. Solidarity with those who are suffering most from the pandemic should be a core value in our work and our societies. Being sincerely interested in the well-being of others is also a foundational value for solving other global crises such as the climate emergency or ending poverty. Religions and the societal values they cultivate are an essential asset in facing global crises and challenges together as a human family.

Discover Faith in Development Monitor Christmas Edition 12/2020

Read our shortened christmas edition of the Faith in Development Monitor by browsing through the different sections:


Events  - Faith and Development in the next 60 days

Resources and Information - Insights and Perspectives

Faith in Development Monitor (FiDM)

five categories - 500 seconds to read

Faith and existing belief systems do not receive enough attention in global development cooperation despite the fact that human development is inseparably interwoven with worldviews. Development is taking place in all societies and cultures which are deeply influenced by religions. At the same time, faith-based organizations are among the oldest and most influential actors in global and local development cooperation. The Faith in Development Monitor (1) illustrates the relevance of religion for international development cooperation, (2) increases religious literacy among practitioners and policymakers, and (3) comprehensively explains current developments in the field of "religion and development". We encourage readers and recipients to engage in dialogue with faith-based organizations.

Next Edition:

9 March 2021


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prop.: Matthias K. Boehning (Dipl.-Oec.), Consultant Economist


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