Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

"Last Christmas"

Every year the same?

I wrote the "The Word for Sunday" that appeared in the Peine Allgemeine Zeitung (the Peine Newspaper) Saturday, 5 Dec. 2015. Here is a translation of what I hoped would stir people's thinking.

One of the biggest Christmas hits in Germany is the melancholic song „Last Christmas“ from Wham! In this song someone gives away his heart and gets brushed off. A broken heart last Christmas – but this Christmas he will surely find someone else. However, every year he sings the same thing in the hopes that next year will be better. I do not know if this song is so popular because the music is nice or because it expresses what so many people experience each and every Christmas. We have a very clear idea how Christmas should be: A feeling of security, love, goodwill, joy. And every year so many are disappointed; the expectations are not met and we can sing our own verse of „Last Christmas“.

The problem is that Christmas has been gutted – only an empty shell remains well peppered with “Christmas mood.” The actual power that gives Christmas a feeling of security, coziness and beauty is gone. We try every year to reproduce the mood with decorations, lights and “shopping till we drop” but something is missing. We want to have love but are not prepared to give love all year long. We do not cultivate relationships, we do not forgive nor greet other… and then at Christmas it is rare.

Christmas is special because God came to the world as the baby Jesus to show us what true love is. In Christ we experience security and love. And then we look less at ourselves and more to our fellow man and family. We practice peace, love and friendliness the whole year and the power of Christmas is restored. Then we can listen to „Last Christmas“ only for the music and not the words.

Randall Smelser
Preacher, Christusgemeinde in Stederdorf