“Let’s notice the miracle of the holiday just as much as that of the everyday”, highlighted Rector Dr. Béla Merkely in his greeting at the Christmas ceremony held in the Hall of the Central Building of Semmelweis University. At the traditional Christmas tea before the holidays, in her speech, Chancellor Dr. Lívia Pavlik drew attention to the importance of rushing time and to the fact that time cannot be given as a gift, but it can be shared with each other. The intimate atmosphere of the event was ensured by the performance of the Medic Orchestra, as well as the food and drinks served at the standing reception.

“I saw a miracle for the first time when I was four years old. I remember every detail of it clearly. It was enormous. It consisted of countless glowing dots. It shone like one giant glow. It had a thousand colors. And it smelled like pine. Because my first miracle was the Christmas tree,” recalled Rector Dr. Béla Merkely in front of Semmelweis University staff in the Hall of the Central Building. He then went on to say the Bible talks about the same miracle and we can read about the same intangible phenomenon in fairy tales — it is because of this that as a child he waited for Christmas for a whole year in order to experience it all again. “Now is the period of longing for a miracle, and also of waiting: we are preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ, for the special day that is the celebration of love,” he emphasized. “It’s easy to forget about during a long workday, a weekend spent on duty, a tiring task, but in fact we, Semmelweis Citizens, serve miracles every day. Is there a greater miracle than educating the future generations of doctors and health care professionals, serving science, healing a person, or providing background support for this? Each day, standing on the ground of science, we take stock and weigh the facts. “As a doctor, as a university professional, science and faith are my life,” stated the rector, referring to the fact that trust can also promote healing, but as a researcher, one must believe in the power of science and discovery, as well as in the fact that they serve the Hungarian health care, the Hungarian people’s interests when they pass on the best, most advanced knowledge to their students.

Dr. Béla Merkely highlighted that as Semmelweis Citizens, we can call ourselves lucky, as our work has not only reason and meaning, but also a sacred purpose: protecting human life, helping those in need, healing the sick. Not only at Christmas time, but also on weekdays, we can see people rekindle their hope, live their faith, and experience a miracle. “Of course, now, with Christmas approaching, everyone is gradually waiting for the miracle more and more. So let’s do the same! I wish all of us to notice the miracle of the holiday just as much as that of the everyday! Let’s notice the humanity in the other and in ourselves! Let’s experience goodness and share love!”, he emphasized.

“This year’s Christmas is brighter, this year’s Christmas is warmer. But what does this matter if all this only concerns our environment and we do not experience it inside us. Does light shine in our souls, does warmth also live in our hearts? Did we love enough? Did we pay attention to others in the moments of our stormy life? Have we given enough of what we have as a finite treasure? From our time,” said University Chancellor Dr. Lívia Pavlik. She went on to say these are excruciating questions towards the end of the year, when we weigh many things and try to keep our souls in balance and convince ourselves and our conscience that we have done what we could. Time is the only thing that is not infinite, of which there is exactly one moment less at every moment and is irreversible and unrepeatable and irreplaceable, she said.

“We will soon leave the year 2023 behind us. Another year, 365 days, 8760 hours 525600 minutes, 31536000 moments have passed. We had to allocate this well so that everyone gets a share of it,” she pointed out, saying that time is the greatest gift that cannot be wrapped, tied with a ribbon and put under the Christmas tree, it cannot be given as a gift — but it can be shared with others. Following this, the chancellor wished those present pleasant holidays, quoting Eli Michler’s poem “I wish you time”.

The atmosphere of the event was ensured by the Medic Orchestra, who performed one piece each by Arcangelo Corelli and Henry Purcell. In accordance with tradition, the event ended with a standing reception and an informal discussion.


Ádám Szabó
Translation: Mária Sánta
Photo: Bálint Barta – Semmelweis University