The cover of the final issue of Lutheran Tidings, the official publication of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, is featured this month, fifty-nine years later. Lee Molgaard sent a copy of this issue to me when I began editing Church and Life almost two years ago. His support and generosity persists as he has sponsored this Christmas issue. Mange Tak!
The opening song is one of Denmark’s favorite Christmas hymns, “Dejlig er Jorden” by B.S. Ingemann, followed by a translation into English by S.D. Rodholm. Then we have an even newer English translation by Mark Halsether with an elaboration on why he was led to try his hand at translating this hymn.
In the poem “Have Yourself a ‘Mary’ Little Christmas,” David R. Weiss imagines Mary’s experience at the Annunciation and then giving birth to Jesus, God’s liberating Word.
Yet we are reminded in the poem “Disposable” by Larry Granger (submitted by Grethe Petersen) that poor children such as Hans Christen Andersen’s Little Match Girl are still awaiting the fulfillment of the words in Mary’s Magnificat: “He hath filled the hungry with good things.”
Though the classic Danish Christmas story by Ernst Johansen “Hans Peter’s Christmas,” translated by Edward Broadbridge, is about the struggles of a poor family about to lose their farm, it strikes a lighter tone as all is well in the end.
In “A Short History of House Building,” Erik S. Hansen gives a personal account of the challenges of fulfilling the vision of settling in a place
The trials and triumphs discovered in the letters of Edgar B. Madsen’s forebears are the subject of “The Shoestring Letters: A Tribute to the Immigrant, reviewed by Deborah van Deusen-Hunsinger.
Rita Juhl also refers to letters across the Atlantic as she is reminded of her father, a veteran of World War I, and the announcement of Pearl Harbor’s bombing that overshadowed her big musical performance.
“A Christmas Gift” by Aage Knudsen (submitted by his niece Sonja Knudsen) is set in the context of heavy military action in World War II. A follow-up is a reprint, submitted by Karen Weiss, another of Aage’s nieces, from the Des Moines Register, “Flier Was Glad to Trade Yule Gifts for Trip Home.”
Celebrating Christmas while also in mourning is the experience of little Marie Blom, as Hanna Broadbridge shares in “Christmas in the Grundtvig Home.”
Many people had such a mixed experience last Christmas to which Pastor Hans Jorgensen spoke in his Christmas Day message “Christ When We Arise.”
While circumstances are far better this Christmas season with the availability of COVID vaccines, uncertainty remains with the appearance of the omicron variant. As we see in the first part of “A Millennium Christmas Story,” an email documentary between Joy Ibsen and Ann Becker, looking out for one another, even or especially strangers, gives hope when times may seem dark, or at least uncertain.
Bridget Lois Jensen