Football fans all over the world mourned when the Argentine footballer Diego Maradona passed away on November 25th. In response a commentator at my age wrote something that stuck with me: ‘You don’t mourn Maradona; you mourn your childhood.’ His death brought back all the wonderful memories of long summer evenings in front of the television after having spent the entire day on the football field playing through the evening matches.
In ‘Brand’, one of the plays of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, there is a famous phrase that most Norwegians learn at school: ‘Only the lost is owned forever.’ We don’t know tomorrow, today we are too busy. That leaves us only with sentimentally mourning the lost opportunities of yesterday.
As Christians we can find comfort in the realisation that there is no yesterday with God. Yesterday’s sins are forgiven, and the troubles are in his hands. With God there is always today. That is also the wonderful message of Christmas: ‘Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you’ (Luk 2:10). He came to take away all our sins and burdens, and to ‘proclaim a year of the Lord’s favour’ (Luk 4:19). And as he continued in the synagogue of Nazareth, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ The last time Jesus proclaims his divine ‘today’ in Luke is on the cross: ‘Today you will be with me in paradise’ (Luk 23:43). In Jesus there is always newness and freshness.
Knut Kåre Kirkholm