In the supermarkets, the Christmas season starts in September, when the shelves fill up with speculoos and stollen. In the heart, however, the Christmas feeling begins in Advent, at home with a wreath and the Christmas story by Charles Dickens. If the ghosts of the past, present and future appeared to us today, like the protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge, what would they say?
The spirit of Christmas Past might tell of a prosperous country that had the world open to it until the pandemic turned it into a lockdown — and that it never quite got out of that lockdown mentality. Of an irrational longing for security that made quite a few block attendants.
About people clapping on balconies for the nurses who worked every day in the hospital wards until they were totally exhausted, and about the broken political promise to significantly improve their working conditions, including financial ones. But he would also talk about the hope that normality will return after the pandemic.
And the spirit of the present? Well, he would say normality is a long time coming. A war is raging in Europe that has revealed the naivety and also the helplessness of the West. Germany fears for its energy supply and its economic power. The federal government is trying to fill problems with billions of dollars, thereby burdening future generations with an immense debt burden.
As the present ghost takes a brief breath before continuing its narration, the ghost of the future emerges. "I just have one question," he says. "What do you mean by normality?"