How the set phrase says: Everything is a question of perspective. The Christians look since 2000 years backwards in those dark night in which the ox baas, the donkey even a donkey is, the sheep bleat, the angels sing and a child cries. The child is hardly to recognize. Hidden in the dark history, kitschified by traditon or modern alienated as at the Striezelmarkt in Dresden, which is advertising with a life-size manger. The manger under the Christmas tree with its bowl heads and cubic forms reminds me rather of Playmobil in life-size than the Holy Night. But that is a matter of taste.
By the way I am wondering about myself, how seemingly synchronized, I start preaching the time around Christmas, or Good Friday and Easter. Although I get no money for it. To mention money and Christmas in one breath is not tasteless but realistic.
And when you hear the interviewed clergymen and clergywomen at Christmas time you could smirk if it weren’t so sad. How the church nowadays seems to limit its identity to the Christmas service, which is like an ice floe driven through the ice sea of climate change, when church is proud of full Christmas services as if everything were O.K. and their whistling in the dark were no shame offence!
Christmas is always the same old story like in the movie “Groundhog Day”. In the language of the church this is called ritual, something that takes place according to the same rules.
Like I said: Everything is a question of perspective. Past, presence and future. You can live only today. That’s clear. “Live here and now” knows every child. But we know how much our past influences our today. May it the bad influence of our wrong nutrition or other unhealthy habits like smoking or underexercising in the past which make us ill today. Or old documents surface today which charge us of a tax offence.
Our Christmas 2016 although we remember a 2000 year old event in the past, is in front of us in the future. Like I said, every year I get agitated at Christmas, Good Friday or Easter and start preaching. When I think of the baby in the manger, I already see the Stigmata on the little arms, which the man of the cross Jesus has 30 years later on his handpalms or wrists. Then I don’t expect only the birth of a child, but I remember that Christ as the Risen is past, presence and future.
Just now in the time of Advent it seems to me as if Christ came up to us with open arms. It is strange. It seems to me as if I looked in a mirror, when I see Jesus coming up to me. As if in the future the image of the crucified melted into my own human being. As if a vision came to me, which God has of my own life as human. Yes, and that’s what makes me look for words every year. That I am as I am and God comes to me as human.
The vain weatherman in the movie “Groundhog Day” must stay as long in the endless loop of his always returning nightmare, not until his fellow men change, but until he changes himself. And so it seems to me to be with the annual ritual of Christmas: We must remain as long in the ritual endless loop, until we look away from our selves and realize God in our next. That’s also called love.