I wish it were Easter…


Let me be open: I don’t like Christmas at all. Ahww, I know, that sounds harsh. And I have the impression that it gets worse – with my feelings not with Christmas – every year. It has less to do with other people who are alienated to the true meaning of Christmas and mistake shopping and free time with the birth of Christ, which is the real reason why we actually are going to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is my tender point and my Achilles heel. Normally you could say Dresden with its old buildings and different Christmas Markets like the popular Striezelmarkt with its long tradition is one of the best cities to celebrate Christmas. When you drive through the city you can see into a lot of windows which are richly and carefully decorated with Christmas asseccories. The people of Dresden care about Christmas traditions and build a whole safe world of Christmas memories around themselves.

Additional to this traditional overdose I guess another reason because I’m so depressed during the Christmas time may be the early darkness and the short days with its early darkness because of the winter. But surprise, surprise, I can prophesy for the 2nd January my mood will go up to nearly 100 % and the emotional spell of Christmas over me will be vanishing like a bad dream in the early morning.

If I liked and drank alcohol I certainly would drink alcohol until I become benumbed not to feel my emotions these days. A few years ago I fled to Turkey but nowadays I have neither time nor means to travel. In the lobby of the hotel I was welcomed by a richly decorated Christmas tree. But that wasn’t so bad because the environment was different. Another way to push away my Christmas sadness is to work. I keep myself busy to push aside the past of my safe childhood. A good remedy to deal with my Christmas mood you can see right here: I guess one of the best means is to get familiar with your feelings and to untangle them with words. To accept them and to accept yourself with patience. O.K. that’s the way it is. That’s the way I am. That’s my emotional structure. I overcame it the last years and I will certainly make it this year and in the hopefully following years in the future.

And Christmas is not about my emotional constitution, not about special Christmas feelings which we have cultivated in our western Christmas tradition. As we Mary and Joseph lived in their own daily reality. They were oppressed by the hard life then, dictated by the Roman empire and they were poor. Of course as a man I can’t understand how it is to be pregnant but I assume to travel by feet or on a donkey and to be pregnant certainly wasn’t easy and full of sorrows according to the future. But what at last counted weren’t the hard circumstances but the one who carried Mary in her womb. Looking at him gives me peace. Listening to Mary’s prayer I can find my peace too besides my broken emotional psychic structure according to Christmas.

“My soul magnifies the Lord.
47     My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
48     for he has looked at the humble state of his servant.
For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.
49     For he who is mighty has done great things for me.
    Holy is his name.
50     His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down princes from their thrones.
    And has exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things.
    He has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy,
55     As he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46-55)

4th Advent: The Image of God


15 Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together.
18 He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him;
20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross.

21 You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil deeds,
22 yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without defect and blameless before him,
23 if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed in all creation under heaven; of which I, Paul, was made a servant. (Colossians 1:15-23)

The tender infant in a rough environment. It smells like wood, straw and dung. Here a child has been born in extreme poverty. Mary and Joseph – simple people. They have not picked out their fate. Poverty and simplicity aren’t a lifestyle for them. They don’t think – like us – if we only could live more simple. “Simplify your life” and “back to the basics” in the style of a Thoreau are totally strange to them. They have quite different sorrows. Eating, drinking, a warm refuge for mother and child – only for this night. What will be tomorrow is in God’s hands.

Living in this moment. Speechless luck. Does Mary sense who she just is suckling? Can she understand his universal meaning like the writer of the epistle to the Colossians does? Probably not. To Mary Jesus always would be her little boy. We know how she later is looking for the twelve years old. My mother and I know that it is similar to other, told me when I was already 30 years old, that I still have to comb. Mothers are like that. Good, if mothers are like that.

Change of scene. It is as we would be in another dimension, when we read the Colossians. That beats me! Yes indeed. But life does not happen only on a material level, not only in the cycle of birth, eating and drinking, living, growing old and dying. Since Jesus we know: The separation between the visible material world and the invisible spiritual world has been set aside. Both is merged in him.

For the faith Jesus is more than a religious miracle worker, more than a good human. God becomes visible, sensible and material in and by him. In spite of all God remains incomprehensible to us. The mystic can only talk like in Colossians of God in Christ. Ebullient, ecstatic, like drunken by love.

He experienced reconciliation. He experienced that his heart broke open and surrendered in front of God’s omnipresent love, which has taken shape in Christ. There is no before-after. Time dissolves. Beginning and ending are one in Christ.

It seems impossible for the mystic to determine the birth of Christ as a temporal birthday. It is impossible for him to “think” himself as seperated of Christ. That’s the point, he doesn’t think or believe to be one with Christ, but he experiences himself as one with God and Christ.

God’s presence shortly enlightens the darkness of our grey daily routine like a flash. But it is not nothing. Even if we can’t constantly be in a state in which we experience our oneness with God, we cannot endure ecstasy, peak experiences with God in the long run, they change us to the depths of our personality.

God dwells with his fullness in Christ.