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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Merry Christmas

Posted by Thomas Nephew on December 25th, 2001

Thanks for dropping by. I wish you and yours a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

For some nice writing about Christmas, 2001, see Jeff Jarvis’ “Merry Christmas, World.” I had a look at the Martin Niemöller Christmas 1944 Dachau sermon Jeff highlighted; it is an impressive and moving profession of faith under the worst possible circumstances. I can’t claim it’s a faith I share, but I often find myself looking in the window, so to speak. From Niemöller’s sermon, the questions I often ask myself, and the answer of a man convinced of God and his goodness:

…Humanity has accustomed itself to leading its life without God. My dear friends, I would like to not be misunderstood; I do not mean those people who describe themselves as “godless,” and who claim from purportedly scientific, philosophical, or political reasons: “There is no God,” to whom we after all do not belong; I really mean we ourselves, as we are gathered here, we who have not lost the custom of beginning and ending our days with prayer, but to whom God seems so infinitely distant, that we believe he doesn’t care about our planet. Indeed it does seem as if He had left this world to its own devices, so that humans could wreck it completely. And from this sentiment it takes only a tiny step to the doubting question: Should God care about me, about a small, pitiful little human in a time in which hundreds of thousands and millions die miserably?[…]

And we, dear friends, who are cut off from the world out there, inactive spectators of all their battles and convulsions, we, who have many hours every day to look inward and become clear about ourselves, we, who often so painfully lack peace of heart, because we do not look on God and His word, but rather on mankind and its doings – should not our inner sense be especially open for the message of the Christmas evangelium; shouldn’t the word of great joy be especially relevant to us, who know fear – fear of death and fear of life?! So let us today on Christmas Eve ask the Lord Jesus Christ that He, who came in to this world alienated from God in order to save it, should also come to us, bring us his salvation and grant us his joy! – Amen.

I did my hurried best to translate the whole text for Jeff. It has given me some food for thought this holiday season.

Enough of that. Take care! Enjoy your family and friends as I will mine — especially my little girl, Maddie, who is my own singing, dancing, laughing proof that life is good. Tomorrow: Lincoln logs and Angelina Ballerina. In the less timeless words of Homer Simpson: Woo hoo!

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