let your walls be broken
make your heart wide like the horizon
and deep like the ocean
today is the day to surrender
for the one who is
love peace and glory
the thorn-crowned king
is born among us
gentle and careful
his healing hands
and alleviates every pain
gentle his love
and tender his heart
to reconcile and to free
to heal what is broken
to wipe off every tear
today is the day to come home
The songs of Tori Amos touch me deeply inside. I’m often not far away from crying and indeed often I did listening to her music and lyrics.
We three kings
Are coming again
From the east
From the east
Some say a star will rise again
In the hearts of humankind
Some say we have been in exile
What we need is solar fire
Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
Westward leading, still proceeding
A star of wonder
These days around Christmas I catch myself out how my thoughts wandering in the past. That’s not unusual for the time around Christmas but unusual for me, because I usually try to live in the presence.
Well, I remembered a Christmas Eve a long time ago. Maybe I was thirteen or fourteen. We had a lot of snow at this time. My parents who always cared for other people suggested to bring a bottle of champagne to an old lady, who had never been married and had lived alone the whole time of her life. So I brought the bottle wrapped up in gift wrap paper to the second next house, where the old lady lived in a small attic story. It was around four a clock and it started to get dark outside. She was surprised and a little bit irritated about my visit and invited me in.
All my life I have been able to estimate people and their moods, even as a boy. And so I felt directly when I was entering, that my well-meant visit was not only unnecessary but a disruption.
The small living-room was nicely decorated with burning candles and the Christmas tree had real burning candles too. In the midst of the room stood a little table with white table-cloth, silver cutlery laid beneath a plate. Something was boiling on the oven. The whole scenery emanated peace, silence and solemnity. The old lady was simply but fancy dressed as if she had expected some invited guests. Her whole appearance embodied her inner attitude. She was the cause of the solemn and peaceful atmosphere, which I had noticed a few seconds ago.
The pity of my parents for the old lonely woman was totally causeless, because she wasn’t alone at all and happy with herself and her memories. She had found peace with herself and her certainly not always easy life. Perhaps she was glad about my visit, that somebody thought about her, I don’t remember. I only stayed a view minutes but this old lady impressed me as a boy so deeply that I still can remember her today.
Let me tell you something about my situation, when I published my last post. It was Sunday the 2nd Advent when I had time and felt creatively but I wasn’t in the mood to write something about Christmas at all. I even considered to publish one of my old posts from last year. But I wanted to write something about my paintings, something about life, art and myself – and not again about Christmas. It must be hard to be a professional pastor, who is under constraint to preach every Sunday for his living and maybe sometimes against his or her feelings. But that’s only a side note.
Please, don’t laugh: I discovered a slight tendency of a bad conscience after I pressed the publish button. How come? A few times the last days I have been thinking about it incidentally. I still have no all over answer. Maybe I had forgotten that the Christian faith had nothing to do with my own efforts. I don’t have to proof anything. Neither to myself nor to my readers, at least to God to show that I believe in him.
There is a large space and the welcoming wide open arms of God the father. Don’t try to impress me, come as you are, there is nothing what you can give me besides an open heart.
And standing in front of the doors of Christmas, it’s hard to believe that I seemingly had forgotten at all in this daily humdrum: How Jesus was and how he is. Because God lived in his heart, he was the friendly face of God in this world. For those who didn’t know God and for those who still didn’t understand.
I don’t have to force myself to make things up. God is present and flows like a comforting stream of love, acceptance and grace through my life. Often I don’t understand him, lack of trust and faith but he never changes. And we as Christians are now the faces of God in this world. Make your hearts wide because God wants to express himself through us. As in Christ he lives in us today. Christmas is every day.
I know, how it is to have money, to drive a Mercedes and being boss of a company. Everybody greets you friendly and people make a bow. I know how it is to have no money: the bank puts thumbscrews on you, and you are only a maggot, but without bacon. If you then again come by some money, you are the made man, customer king.
Who is so naive to trust these rabble of bow-makers and hold-the-door-openers, doesn’t have to wonder if his / her heart turns up and down like the weather. He judges himself like the others see him. And here you can find the whole evil what makes you to a puppet of your fellow human being. You are to blame, if you hate yourself, because you still haven’t broken with the mob to whom it’s just about money, beauty and success.
Man I tell you, as long as you run after this you aren’t free but a servant of many. You are an everyman who goes for broke running after the zeitgeist and who misses out, because you can’t reach your own high standards. You are no Goethe, Shakespeare, no Nowitzki or Madonna. And all that is not tragic. You are not you, and that is a tragedy. To look your whole life at others and don’t feel yourself. What a waste. At the end you were not even yourself.