As I approach Christmas Eve, there is the agony of trying to find something to say about the very familiar story that we have all heard for many years. It is the same feeling one has about Easter, if you are a pastor. How does one reimagine this sentimental tale that we have come to know through countless Christmas pageants, TV specials, and a lifetime of nostalgia. One can become pretty jaded, and the message is taken for granted as it falls on familiar ears that have become deaf to its wonder.
Albert Schweitzer is not only a genius, but a personal hero to me. An expert in music, medicine, and theology gives us a key to unlocking the door to this mystery hidden in familiarity and tainted by our consumer culture. Schweitzer responds to all of this with the following:
“He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.”
Amid the pressures of this not always happy time of the year, and given the events in our world, Schweitzer offers us an invitation to look at Jesus differently and realize that we can discover him anew in the struggles of everyday life.
That is my hope for you as well as myself.