Megalomaniacal Philistines Will Digest Even Crucifixion of Christ For Their Vain and Wasteful Pleasures

George Grosz’s “Our Christmas”

At first we look at Grosz’ drawing with ease of feeling habitually touched by a guaranteed pleasantness. This is a picture of Christmas celebration in a family like so many others. One year has passed by since the previous Christmas jollities, and grateful to Christ we celebrate again our solid presence in the world which he has ensured for us Christians by the very generosity of his great self-sacrifice for our sake. But when we turn away from this picture to share our impressions – to read in each others’ eyes how good our destiny is because of Him, we start to feel somewhat strange, and then we turn back to Grosz’ sketch again and look at it more attentively.

Here, we somehow lose the natural one-dimensionality of our satisfaction. We notice details that begin to stick in our eyes as specks of dust. We still feel a natural identification with the protagonists of the drawing, and yet they start to show some difference from us. Isn’t the grandmother’s pose of being buttressed by her own bosoms too comfortable? – Isn’t producing progeny of a secondary importance for Christians, what are their values besides what makes both Christians and pagans similar as belonging to the human race? And what does it mean to be a real Christian? Does it mean loyalty to dogma? – Obedience to customs and rituals? – Proud patriotism of belonging to a Christian nation? Or is it something else, less obvious, less standard, more particular, more spiritual, more creative, more risky, less guaranteed?

Is the mother/wife’s face inspired, full of humility, with an aura of understanding? Or, isn’t her mouth thoughtlessly opened too wide while the grandmother‘s, conversely, too tightly shut, as if, she is sucking a candy? Isn’t the father/husband too self-confident and self-centered? Where is their sensitivity towards the world or at least a trace of grace? Do the boys, their sons get from the adults of the family the trembling feeling of sacred reality coming to them, the impression that behind all the Christmas presents they got there is no giant Christmas present of Christ’s birth itself but instead a great human and cosmic tragedy that continues every day of our lives when we again and again crucify Christ by betraying His teachings? All the members of the family are shown as either not looking at the world (father, grand-mother) or with reduced visual function (mother and her two sons).

Philistines are little pagans, occupied with appropriation, possession, consumption and fight whatever religion they happen to use to survive and get immortality. They use Christmas tree as a guard of their complacency and their living rooms, bedrooms and guns. They use the words of the Christmas song as magic tools to keep their complacency and self-pride by any price without doing anything spiritually difficult to help the world to be closer to the the spirit of Christ’s legacy. They perceive Christ as a giant mountain of treasure from which they can take shining guarantees with greedy innocence of financial schemers and those who fire American workers or take away their rights to co-decide the conditions of their labor. The haughty father/husband of this family that Grosz improvised in his drawing looks exactly like one of them.