Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Missing Child at Christkindlmarket

Chicago's German Christmas market is one of the highlights of the "holiday" season. Vendors come from Germany, Austria and other nations (European and South American, mostly) with incredibly beautiful items: Hand-carved figurines, blown glass, lacework, candles, nesting dolls, marzipan treats... If the Alpine-style booths whet your appetite for something in keeping with the theme, you can order a plate of weiner schnitzel in the "food court." It is, after all, a German Christmas market (Christkindlmarket: Christ-Child Market).

Only this year, the Christ-Child appears to have gone missing.

Santa's not missing.

The tree's not missing.

It's only the Christ-Child who can't be found in the Christ-Child Market. Consider this a missing-child alert!

For years, a private organization sponsored an almost-life-sized nativity scene in Daley Plaza, along the border of the market. I walked all around Daley Plaza this afternoon, and the only nativity scenes I saw were the beautiful images for sale in the German and Austrian booths. 

What happened? Was the Nativity scene sponsor priced out of participation? Or were all religious groups politely excluded from this public forum? In previous years, a giant menorah and a kind of five-sided obelisk with descriptions of the Islamic "pillars" also appeared in the plaza around Christkindlmarket time.

It could very well be that Jesus has been disinvited to his own birthday party, perhaps under the banner of inclusivity. Rather than fight City Hall, maybe we need to recognize that this is the direction our society is moving in. That doesn't mean surrendering, though! It just means acknowledging that in the future, the only image of Christ will be us--or he will really not be present at all.


Maureen Moran said...

Cancel the missing Child alert.

The annual dedication of the Crèche in Daley Plaza will take place Saturday, November 24th, at 12:00 Noon according to one news source.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Wonderful news, Maureen! Thanks for updating me.