Chapter 21, “The Destruction of Death” pp. 169-172
Christmas shines a light into darkness. The darkness into which it shines is death. That death is one of the forces which shapes us throughout our life. It is something unknown, and our fears are almost always fears of the unknown.
Why do we fear death? Tillich affirms it is because we, of all creatures, are able to think clearly about our future. We realize that we are destined for death and that we deserve death. This is the guilt which drives us to fear. What hope do we find? The hope is that we are justified, as Tillich puts it, not by our work but because “eternity” has rescued us. This is the Christian message. It brings hope. Forgiveness of sins answers our guilt. Eternity has stepped in and died for us. The Eternal has participated even in the fear of death. This is what Christmas is about.