Christian Christmas stories
And here it is again, the most popular time of the year for many: Christmas! We are all looking forward to the festival of love and family, to all the wonderful moments that we will still experience this Christmas season. But why is that actually the case?
Unfortunately, the real idea of Christmas is often lost between all the presents under the Christmas tree. Therefore, for many, Christmas has just become a time when people give and receive presents. Unfortunately, the meaning and the story behind it are lost, making the whole festival increasingly unimportant.
With our Christian Christmas stories you can take control, because they deal with the background of the "Feasts of feasts" and especially address the Christian origin. Immerse yourself in the genesis and experience with our stories up close the reason why we celebrate Christmas at all: the birth of Christ. Lean back, take a deep breath and prepare your mind not to celebrate Christmas without cause, because we are all actually celebrating the birth of our Lord.
Tip: On our site you will of course also find THE Christmas story from the Bible. And the best thing about it: we have collected different versions of the Christmas story from different versions of the Bible for you.
Christian Christmas stories
You are praised, Jesus Christ
It was Christmas Eve in 1703. Father Knesebeck, respected councilor of the city of Rostock, was sitting by the bright fireplace in his red, plush armchair. His white head rested on the high back. His aged housewife and daughter sat to his side. But on the table in front of them were two glowing candles, and the scriptures lay open. everything was silent. Our life lasts seventy years, and when it comes up it is eighty years – with Father Knesebeck it was higher, because 82 years was the time of his pilgrimage. And now when the cold December wind whistled around the towers of the old city of Rostock and the weather vanes creaked: he heard nothing of it. For ten years he had been… read more It was Christmas Eve in 1703. Father Knesebeck, respected councilor of the city of Rostock, was sitting by the bright fireplace in his red, plush armchair. His white head rested on the high back. His aged housewife and daughter sat to his side. But on the table in front of them were two glowing candles, and the scriptures lay open. everything was silent. Our life lasts seventy years, and when it comes up it is eighty years – with Father Knesebeck it was higher, because 82 years was the time of his pilgrimage. And now when the cold December wind whistled around the towers of the old city of Rostock and the weather vanes creaked: he heard nothing of it. He had been deaf for ten years and had not heard a Christmas gospel or a Christmas carol, but had sat there deaf and dumb like today. And for ten years the two had sighed to his side and also prayed if God would like it, that the father would like to hear again joy and joy, that his bones would be happy. – Now it was time for the holy Christmas party. With a wistful look at the head of the father, who was sitting with clasped hands, the dear daughter took the scriptures and raised her hand to Luk. 2: But it came about at the time that a bid came from the Emperor Augustus, that the world would be valued. – And everyone went to be appreciated, everyone in his city. Then Joseph made his way from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to the Jewish country to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem – and so she read the whole holy festival story. Now the two, mother and daughter, began to sing their Christmas carol in a low voice, as is customary in the house: You are praised, Jesus Christ. , , The high room echoed strangely as the two started. But look, there were no longer two, there were three who sang the second stanza – and the third was the old father himself, who came in with a trembling voice: "That you were born human!" For during the lecture the Lord’s angel, who came to the shepherds on Christmas night and called: Do not be afraid, behold, I proclaim you great joy – the angel of the Lord had touched him, Jesus, the newborn king, had it Hephata called over his aged servant. He heard and sang, and singing, he worshiped and praised. Then the three celebrated Christmas Eve so glad that the bright tears of joy ran down their cheeks: and it might sound nice when they sang: "He did everything to show us his ‘great love’. All Christianity is happy and thanks to him forever!"
I do not know how many a Christmas Eve has passed since then about Father Knesebeck’s head. But I do know that such Christian singing remained with him the rest of his pilgrimage, and I believe that when he was able to greet his Lord with the angelic throng in his heavenly throne, he was also able to do it:
You are praised, Jesus Christ,
That you became human,
From a virgin, that’s true;
The angel crowd is happy: Hallelujah!
The Christmas flower
The flower I want to tell you about today is lonely. She doesn’t know the happy days of spring or the fragrant nights of summer. No whispering companions grow up next to her, no bird sings them in dreams. She has to look in snow and ice, the north wind sweeps over her and the monotonous croaking of the raven birds is her music.
And yet she is white and delicate like only one of her sisters; It grows gracefully from the wreath of green leaves, and its deep chalice guards the secrets of the flowers. And she doesn’t feel winter pain! She stands still and proud in her strength. She knows that she is gifted: the only flower that is allowed to bloom in winter, the only flower that is sacred… read more Lonely is the flower I want to tell you about today. She doesn’t know the happy days of spring or the fragrant nights of summer. No whispering companions grow up next to her, no bird sings them in dreams. She has to look in snow and ice, the north wind sweeps over her and the monotonous croaking of the raven birds is her music.
And yet she is white and delicate like only one of her sisters; It grows gracefully from the wreath of green leaves, and its deep chalice guards the secrets of the flowers. And she doesn’t feel winter pain! She stands still and proud in her strength. She knows that she is gifted: the only flower that can bloom in winter, the only flower that can celebrate the holy Christmas with the inhabitants of the earth. Tell me, sister of the lily, what called you into winter life? What gave you the power to defy the cold and the storm? Why don’t you sleep in the peace of the earth?
The leaves rustle tones and chords, they whisper and rustle – I hear syllables, words – and now I want to tell their story.
It is dead Sunday. On the way to the churchyard there is a silent crowd of people. they wear wreaths, fir vines and immortelles, evergreen oaks and red rowan berries. They walk in silence, as if they were thinking of past days or dreaming of future light in fearful hope. The last one on the train is a little boy with a green wooden cross on his shoulder, a heavy burden for a young body! It is a poor cross, roughly assembled, with bevelled corners. But the boy’s eyes rest lovingly on it; his young, inexperienced hands probably carved the wood himself.
The little bell rings out of the chapel of the mortuary, and the mourning crowd mourns through the portal. A gentle wind goes with them; it is the angels of death who follow the train invisibly. The guests of the dead spread out silently from the broad middle path. The pale boy soon found his mother’s grave. It is a fresh hill; without jewelry and without care it lies in the cool early fog. The little boy kneels down, plants his little cross at the head of the dead, and prays quietly. The angel who followed him bends down to read the inscription. "Dear mother", is written in large, childlike letters on the crosswood, nothing else. Then the angel kisses the child on the head.
The other graves gradually adorned themselves with the flowers and wreaths of the victims; but the boy’s eyes looked fearfully over the empty grave, and a twitch of pain went over his little face. "Dear God," he prayed quietly, "let my mother grow a beautiful flower too, I have to go to the orphanage and can’t bring her anymore. But you can, dear God, you are good and almighty, and I ask you so much."
Then the angel kissed the child a second time, and a quiet glow of certainty came into the boy’s brown eyes. He adjusted the little cross again, kissed his mother’s grave, and followed the other people who were heading home.
The angel flew home to God and brought him the boy’s wish. "It is winter," said the Lord, "all plants sleep; should I change this child because of my eternal laws?" "Your omnipotence, O Lord, is greater than your law, your kindness richer than your will!" Then the Lord smiled that the clouds shone and a ringing through the stars. "come over", he said to the angel, and they entered the garden of paradise in silence.
There bloom the flowers that threw careless hands away on earth and crushed careless feet. They bloom more beautifully here in the heavenly light than in the earthly sun; and when the Creator came up to them, tendrils and grasses stretched out to him, and the goblets overflowed with fragrance and splendor.
But God went to a white lily, took the trembling one from heaven’s lap, kissed it and gave it to the angel. "This messenger of heaven will bloom on earth in ice and snow for the earth child for joy and my son in memory. The winds should carry their seeds through the countries of the north; the warmth of my will flows through its roots and remains with it for the duration of earthly time!"
"But you put down the sign of death and protect the boy with a warm heart. Spread your wings around him so that the seed that sprouts in his soul will not die even in frost and drought, and that the flower of human love will bloom from it; it is more beautiful than all the flowers of paradise."
The angel gratefully bowed, kissed the Lord’s robe, and followed his orders.
This is how the Christmas flower came to earth, and pious people feel its sacred origin.
The middle star
After years of painstaking work, a wise man from the East had put together a star from the rocks of the earth, in which the finest forces of life were bound. What had met the sage beautiful and valuable, he had turned into crystals and inserted into the star.
When the miracle star was completed, he had a magnificent show and shopping hall built on the country road that leads from Mecca to Medina. He fastened his star high in the dome. Golden letters ran around him, bearing the following saying in a foreign language:
Woman or man,
look at me with faith,
then lights up deep,
what slept hidden,
then the core of things becomes form,
then strangers pass out … read more A wise man from the east had put together a star from the rocks of the earth after years of laborious work, in which the finest forces of life were banned. What had met the sage beautiful and valuable, he had turned into crystals and inserted into the star.
When the miracle star was completed, he had a magnificent show and shopping hall built on the country road that leads from Mecca to Medina. He fastened his star high in the dome. Golden letters ran around him, bearing the following saying in a foreign language:
Woman or man,
look at me with faith,
then lights up deep,
what slept hidden,
then the core of things becomes form,
then foreign power becomes impotence,
then the child becomes the hero, the gate,
then a man climbs up to God!
Thousands of hikers came through the wonder hall every day and marveled at the splendor and the treasures that the wise man had piled up in it. They touched the artificial latticework in front of the display cases, the colorful carpets on the walls, the wonderful collections of weapons and precious stones in the niches – but nobody looked at the star high up in the vaulted ceiling. Every now and then a half glanced at the bright spot, but it was thought to be worthless glass, and nobody’s eye stuck to it. The eyes always returned to the magnificent hall below. There were also two large pictures on the walls. In front of these pictures the crowd was always crowded with wonder and whisper.
One picture depicted death as he marched past a long chain and cut off the head of one soldier after the other with a scythe. But the soldiers – and it was horrible to see – all stood at attention as if in the barrack yard, and those who still had their heads closed their eyes. In front, on the fire of a bursting grenade, the devil grinned and waved his red flag.
The picture on the other side was a banquet in an open veranda. A lot of well-dressed men and women sat at the tables. Exquisite dishes and fine wines stood before them. They ate and laughed with each other and threw bones and pieces of bread over the parapet. Many poor people stood outside and caught the broken stones; some with hatred in their eyes, others with deep bow. Beside them stood a number, who watched sadly or grimly, and one clenched a fist at the table with the dishes.
These two pictures attracted people again and again, but the wise man from the East watched, shaking his head; the hall had been ready for years, and no pilgrim had ever looked at the star of the ceiling with faith.
Then one day a foundling of poverty came into the vault. The boy had moved out homeless and parentless, but his eyes were full of sun and his heart full of kindness. He sang into the blue sky and his dry bread tasted like delicious manna. He entered the high gate in awe, let his astonished glances slowly slide through the vault and looked up delightedly at the dome. It was as if the whole structure flowed together in the middle, and as if long streams of gold were pouring out of the shining star back into the hall. He kept looking down – up – his eyes widened with astonished knowledge, and his hands closed as if in prayer.
Then the miracle that was inherent in the stars came true: he began to turn and show the boy his hidden play of colors. His colorful circles stretched soft and glowing through the vault; and what they touched was filled with their own life or transparent as crystals and revealed to the beholder his innermost work. Then the lonely boy clasped his hands in faith and prayed: "Praise be to Allah!"
Like a dreaming, he first went through the crowds of other pilgrims; they shyly backed away from him, but he didn’t notice.
But soon the wise man’s promise was fulfilled; it was as if a secret light shone into people and things. So he saw much that was hidden from the others and that he had never seen before. He also saw the pictures in the hall with new eyes. In the picture with the beheaded soldiers he saw the angel of peace behind all the atrocities; and in the image of the rich and poor he saw the spirit of righteousness that was just pulling the sword out of its sheath. But far between the two pictures, the wall opened to him and he saw a new country lying in the twilight, where proud, healthy people were doing their daily work and leisure.
And he saw the living and the dead, and realized that a grain of wheat was more than a grain of gold.
And saw the war and the bitterness, and knew that peace would be her last child.
And he saw that death is only still life and the finite is only a contradiction of the infinite.
And he grew and opened his mouth and told the pilgrims what he saw. And there was a glow from him so that they believed him and clung to him.
He had looked at the star in the middle with faith.
Take your chairs and tea glasses with you here behind the stove and don’t forget the rum. It is good to have warm people who are told about the cold.
some people, especially a certain type of man who is against sentimentality, have a strong aversion to Christmas. But at least one Christmas in my life is really in my memory. That was Christmas Eve 1908 in Chicago.
I had come to Chicago in early November and when I asked about the general situation I was told immediately that it was going to be the hardest winter this city, which was uncomfortable enough anyway. When I asked what the chances were for a boilermaker, said … read more Take your chairs and tea glasses with you here behind the stove and don’t forget the rum. It is good to have warm people who are told about the cold.
some people, especially a certain type of man who is against sentimentality, have a strong aversion to Christmas. But at least one Christmas in my life is really in my memory. That was Christmas Eve 1908 in Chicago.
I had come to Chicago in early November and when I asked about the general situation I was told immediately that it was going to be the hardest winter this city, which was uncomfortable enough anyway. When I asked what the chances were for a boilermaker, I was told that boilermakers had no chance, and when I was looking for a reasonably possible place to sleep, everything was too expensive for me. And that was the experience of many professions in Chicago that winter of 1908.
And the wind blew horribly across Lake Michigan from December, and by the end of the month a number of large meat packers were closing and a flood of unemployed people on the cold streets.
We trotted through all the quarters all day, desperately looking for some work, and were happy when we were able to stay in a tiny, crowded pub in the slaughterhouse district in the evening. At least it was warm there and we could sit quietly. And we sat with a glass of whiskey for as long as we could, and we saved everything over the day on that one glass of whiskey, which still included warmth, noise, and comrades, all that there was left of hope for us gave.
We also sat there on Christmas Eve this year, and the place was even more crowded than usual, the whiskey was even waterier and the audience was even more desperate. It is obvious that neither the public nor the landlord get into a festive mood if the whole problem of the guests is to have a glass for a whole night and the whole problem of the host to get out those who had empty glasses in front of them.
But around ten o’clock two or three guys came in, who, the devil may have known where, had a few dollars in their pockets and, because it was Christmas and there was sentimentality in the air, invited the whole audience in empty a few extra glasses. five minutes later the whole place was unrecognizable.
Everyone got fresh whiskey (and now they took great care to ensure that the pouring was done correctly), the tables were moved together, and a chilled-looking girl was asked to do a cakewalk, with all the party participants clapping the beat with their hands. But what can I say, the devil may have had his black hand in play, there was no real mood.
Yes, from the very beginning the event took on a directly malicious character. I think it was the compulsion to have presents that teased everyone. The donors of this Christmas mood were not viewed with kind eyes. Already after the first glasses of the donated whiskey the plan was made to give a real Christmas present, a company of a larger style, so to speak.
Since there was no abundance of gift items, one wanted less to stick to directly valuable gifts and more to those gifts that were suitable for those to be given and perhaps even made a deeper meaning.
So we gave the landlord a bucket of dirty snow water from the outside, where there was just enough of it so that his old whiskey was enough for the new year. We gave the waiter an old, vomited tin can so that he would have at least a decent service item, and a neat pocket knife for a girl belonging to the restaurant so that she could at least scrape off the layer of powder from the previous year.
All of these gifts were given challenging applause by those present, perhaps excepting the recipient. And then the main fun came.
There was a man among us who must have had a weak point. He sat there every evening, and people who knew the same thing could safely say that, however indifferent he was, he must have a certain, insurmountable fear of anything to do with the police. But everyone could see that he wasn’t in good skin.
We came up with something very special for this man. With the permission of the landlord, we tore out three pages from an old address book, which were full of police guards, carefully pounded them into a newspaper and handed the package to our man.
There was a great silence when we handed it over. The man hesitantly picked up the package and looked up at us with a slightly chalky smile. I noticed how he felt the package with his fingers to find out what could be in it before opening it. But then he opened it quickly.
And now something very strange happened. The man was just fiddling with the string with which the gift" was laced when his gaze, apparently absent, fell on the newspaper sheet in which the interesting address book pages had been put. But by then his gaze was no longer absent. His whole thin body (it was very long) curled up, so to speak, around the newspaper sheet, he bent his face down on it and read. Never, before or after, have I ever seen a person read like this. He just devoured what he read. And then he looked up. And again I never had a man look so brightly, neither before nor after, we see this man.
I just read in the newspaper", he said in a rusted, laboredly calm voice, which was in ridiculous contrast to his radiant face, that the whole thing had just been solved a long time ago. Everyone in Ohio knows that I haven’t had anything to do with the whole thing." And then he laughed.
And all of us who stood there in astonishment and expected something completely different and almost only understood that the man had been accused of something and had been rehabilitated in the meantime, as he had just learned from the newspaper, suddenly started, wholeheartedly and laughing almost from the heart, and this gave our event a great impetus, the bitterness was forgotten at all, and it was an excellent Christmas that lasted until tomorrow and satisfied everyone.
And with this general satisfaction it naturally no longer mattered that this newspaper was not chosen by us, but by God.
Christmas in summer
It is a bright summer day. We are with my uncle Hermann in Weißenstein. The air is full of roses, lilies and linden flowers. We are supposed to give a church concert for Uncle’s poor in the evening. The days have been full of important preparations; Programs have been made, lyrics have been rewritten so that they can be used by the church. Her Kappel, the young organ player, breathlessly had to rehearse and work with us.
Everything is beautiful and festive, only a quarrel between me and my two cousins is in the air these days. They insulted me and my girlfriend deeply with a poem in which they mocked our friendship, which is so sacred to us. The poem concludes with the refrain: "Two pairs of shoes, hearts:… read more It’s a bright summer day. We are with my uncle Hermann in Weißenstein. The air is full of roses, lilies and linden flowers. We are supposed to give a church concert for Uncle’s poor in the evening. The days have been full of important preparations; Programs have been made, lyrics have been rewritten so that they can be used by the church. Her Kappel, the young organ player, breathlessly had to rehearse and work with us.
Everything is beautiful and festive, only a quarrel between me and my two cousins is in the air these days. They insulted me and my girlfriend deeply with a poem in which they mocked our friendship, which is so sacred to us. The poem concludes with the refrain: "Two pairs of shoes, hearts: one!"
When it comes to the dress rehearsal, our argument has reached its climax. Cousins Georg and Cousins Samuel, otherwise so chivalrous and helpful, refused to test my grades. I walk with my friend Betty across the market square and see the cousins coming arm in arm. In the middle of the market place, I put my portfolio with all the notes on the pavement and gestured for them to add them to me. They whistle past and laugh. "You are spoiled!" they say.
I go to church and sit on the organ bench, the notes are in the middle of the market place. The two sinners sit hypocritically below in the church and do not move and the rehearsal should begin, but none of them leave their place. I can’t give in, but Mr. Kappel asks for the grades.
"My cousins will bring them soon", I said.
The cousins all turned their attention to the view of the altarpiece as if they were seeing it for the first time and did not look up to the organ choir.
"Mr. Kappel", I say, "be so kind, go down to my cousins and send them after the notes, they know where they are!"
Mr. Kappel comes up embarrassed: "They refuse to go", he said, "shouldn’t I get the notes myself, where are they??"
I can’t say they are in the market place.
"No way, my cousins will definitely get them", I replied confidently.
Everything is waiting for the rehearsal to begin.
My mother comes up the stairs that lead to the choir. "Why don’t you start?" she asked. When she found out about the bad luck with the notes, she asked me to get it myself. Deeply offended in my young artist’s dignity, I have to humble myself so much that I get the portfolio. The cousins have not moved.
Now, despite the festive day, a constant state of war has been declared between us, we don’t talk to each other. I sit in the garden, which is full of summer scent and swallow buzz. The cousins have been gone for hours, what will they have come up with? Everything is so mysterious in the house. A big surprise after the concert seems to be planned. I am not allowed to enter the hall, the shutters of which are closed after the street.
The hour of the concert is here. Uncle Hermann looked particularly smart all day. "If you sing beautifully", he says, "today you experience something that you have never experienced before."
The city is full of unrest. Small country equipment rattles through the streets, large carriages come from the goods, run clumsily over the bumpy pavement. Everyone from the small town is gearing up for the concert.
I walk through the garden on Uncle’s arm again, we are both silent. All the songs from the program are already singing and ringing in me, and a feeling of festive joy fills me.
Uncle breaks the silence: "Do you know that you are especially blessed by God, that you can sing?" he says.
"Yes I know it".
"Your whole life has to be a thank you for it", he says, "do not forget it."
I take his old dear hand in mine and kiss her. Then we go to church. It is full, the listeners sit head to head; everything is full of devotion and solemnity. An organ prelude roars through the room, then it becomes quiet, and now my vocal number comes.
I stand up and look over all the people, I don’t see them! My gaze goes straight up into the sky, and now there is a Handel aria: "Grant, O Lord, that on that day of judgment our hearts will be purified." How bright my young voice hovers over the dark chords, how unsuspecting my lips speak the fearful words: "Lord have mercy, oh, have mercy on us." – The concert is over. When we go home, the cousins are of an indescribable chivalry, not only do they want to carry my grades, they outdo each other with respectful respect, peace is closed, the hatchet is buried. But I’m not allowed in the house, I’m locked in the kitchen. Now Uncle comes, takes me by the hand and leads me to the locked door of the hall. He opens it – in the middle of the darkened room there is a radiant Christmas tree decorated with lights, and a chorus is heard: "O you happy, o you blessed . . . "
Yes, it is Christmas, in the middle of summer. Uncle makes a speech: "You should have something special", he says, "because you made us particularly happy today with your singing. You could never be here for the real Christmas in winter, so you should have a Christmas tree today. The Savior did not forbid us to do that. If only we were happy in it." He takes my hand and leads me to a gift table. Everyone gave something. Cheers and laughter fill the big room, everything is crowded around me; everyone praises his gift, shows it, especially recommends it to me. From Uncle there is a small box of filigree silver, what he called "Rococo" is called. He calls everything that somehow strikes him in the form "a rococo".
Cousin Jenny gives me a gold ring, sometimes she is a little careless.
"She has it on "puff" took", cries cousin Georg, "I know exactly because she has no money at all."
"Yes", Jenny confirms with dignity and holds out the narrow ring to my hand, "that’s the way it is, but it doesn’t harm the ring in any way."
"Well, boys, put her on a chair and lift her up!" calls Uncle Hermann. Strong arms lift me up in my chair.
"Hooray, hooray!" calls everything, I reach out of my airy seat, cheering for the burning lights on the Christmas tree. Then we go into the garden, the linden trees bloom, the roses smell, the large dinner table is covered outside.
Uncle holds my hand. We look together in the summer splendor, I still half stunned by what I am experiencing.
"How rich we are", says Uncle, "we can have everything because everything is ours if we are and always are God’s.
A Christmas evening
In a big city there was a small narrow street and in it stood a narrow high house. There was a small shop down in the house, almost as cloudy and damp as a cellar, and a little bell on the door almost rang one in the evening.
Everything was available in the small shop: sugar and coffee, smoking tobacco and snuff, vinegar and oil, cheese and herring, also buttons, nails, soap and lights, butter and eggs and a whole host of other things; the grocer herself didn’t know what she had in her shop. But it wasn’t much beautiful at the moment; only the poor people who lived in the narrow alley came and got the bare essentials they needed; into the gap at the counter … read more In a big city there was a small narrow street and in it stood a narrow, tall house. There was a small shop down in the house, almost as cloudy and damp as a cellar, and a little bell on the door almost rang one in the evening.
Everything was available in the small shop: sugar and coffee, smoking tobacco and snuff, vinegar and oil, cheese and herring, also buttons, nails, soap and lights, butter and eggs and a whole host of other things; the grocer herself didn’t know what she had in her shop. But it wasn’t much beautiful at the moment; only the poor people who lived in the narrow alley came and got the bare essentials they needed; almost only copper cruisers fell into the gap at the counter.
Little Margret, who was always with the mother in the shop and was able to help her a little, felt a lot of money, and she didn’t know why the mother was often so sad when she pulled out the little drawer in the evening and counted the money in it. Margret was still small, she could barely see her head over the counter; but she was very happy to be able to bring something for the people who bought it, and she was busy bustling back and forth to help her mother.
Next to the shop was another room, small and dim as the shop itself; in it stood the little bed where Margret was sleeping and the parents’ beds behind a green curtain. The sick father had been in one of them for many months, and it looked as if he would not get up again. The father had once been a servant and assistant to a wealthy merchant; there he had a barrel on his chest while unloading from a car and he hadn’t recovered since. Since he was no longer able to serve, the merchant had helped him to rent the small shop; he hadn’t been able to sell in it for long, for two years now the mother had to do everything in it alone.
Little Margret then often tripped into him and brought him water or some sugar when his cough got so bad, she sometimes sat at his bed and he told her in his weak voice; but she got a little scared in the dark room and preferred to go out into the shop again. "You know, father," she assured very seriously, "the mother has so much to do; I have to help her, otherwise she won’t be able to finish."
"poor child!" the father sighed for himself.
"We are not poor, we have many, many cruisers," Margretchen comforted him, "in the hole in the table outside."
Today was a busy day in the shop, the mother had had little time to look after the sick father or the little Margret; she tripped back and forth particularly hard today, and whenever someone went out of the shop, she ran to the door and looked out; outside, however, there was a sharp, cold wind and Margretchen came in, frozen with a red tip of the nose.
"But, child, stay in the shop!" cried the mother, "You freeze to death outside." "O mother," said the little girl, "it’s Christmas Eve today! and neighbor Röschen told me that now the Christ child is walking through the streets in a silver dress with golden wings, and next to him is the palm tree linen, which has silver baskets, there are nice things for dear children. And, mother, all windows are golden with many lights, just let me out and see a bit! It’s not as dark outside as it is in the shop." The mother lit the thin lamp and put her hand gently on Margaret’s head. "Just stay with me, child!" she said; "it’s so cold outside and you’d be lost on the dark street If you are fine, the Christ Child may come to you too; help now, just sit on your stool! see, there you have a basket with lots of little lights: these are Christmas day lights, you don’t sell them. You can give such a tuft to every child who buys something."
It was a pleasure for Margretchen now. There were many children, almost louder and poorly dressed, who all knew little about Christmas Eve. One got snuff for a father from a cruiser, or a little oil in the lamp, another a lot of coffee and sugar, for a few cruisers butter or lard; how the little one jumped to give everyone his packet of little lights and laughed with sheer pleasure when the children were so happy about the lovely little lights! Margaretchen was also poorly dressed, but neatly and carefully, the mother had gracefully cleaned her apron with old ribbons; so she felt like a little miss to the poor, ragged children.
As long as Margret was distributing lights and the mother was busy serving customers, the sick father had been busy in the little shop. The mother had put a small table in front of his bed, so he had to prepare all sorts of things Margaretchen was not allowed to see, so the green curtains on the little window that went into the shop had been drawn. The little girl had eagerly forgotten with her Christmas lights that she had wanted to go out and see the Christ child and the bright windows; she was only worried whether her little lights would be enough for all the children; now she had only one packet of beautiful red ones in her basket, but the little shop bell was ringing less and less. Another ragged boy came with a smaller girl and got some fuel oil. "Do you also get a Christmas day at home??" asked Margretchen. "I net," said he, shaking his head sadly; "my mother has nothing and my father drinks brandy."
"Come on, I want to give you the little lights," Margaretchen said importantly.
"What do you do with it??" asked the boy, still defiant. "See, you have a little soft clay," said the mother, "you can stick it on and light it, you just have to give it some respect;" and she lit one of the thin lights.
"And I have my own lights and can make my own room bright in our room!" the boy suddenly cried out with great jubilation, "heidideldum!" and he jumped almost to the ceiling so that Margretchen laughed brightly with joy. The mother gave the little girl a piece of sugar candy, the boy almost forgot his oil in joy. "Come on, Kätterle," he called in a hurry, and took the little sister in his arms, "now it will be nice at home! We have little lights!" and Margretchen cheerfully watched them go. It was quiet in the shop, but inside the father called: "Come in Margret!" Then the little girl looked up as the door opened; it was so bright, so beautiful inside, and on the table was a little tree with a lot of lights, and underneath a doll in a red dress, which the mother had made, late at night when Margret was sleeping soundly and the mother’s eyes almost closed were before sleep. There were also a few small bowls and potties; in it were sugar and raisins that she could cook, and a sheep that her father had made of clay and cotton and decorated with pieces of gold paper; it locked its straight feet, which were made of sulfur woods, strangely apart, but the little ones liked it too well. Last year, when the father was so seriously ill that it was impossible to light a tree, it was as if Margretchen saw a Christmas tree for the first time in her life, and she slapped her hands and hopped with joy and did not dare at all to consider the beautiful doll who looked so posh as her own; since then she had only had a wooden one, which had previously stirred on a churn and now only stretched out its empty arms, and had not only lost its churn but later also its head.
When the first cheers of the little ones were over and the little lights were gradually burning down, she put the mother in the chair next to the father’s bed and the father told her the old, beautiful story of the Savior as he gave birth in Christmas come and lay in a stable as a poor little child, and how he still thinks of all the children in the whole world in all the glory and bliss of heaven; how to light the Christmas tree for them as a sign that there is much, much greater glory and loveliness in heaven above them, if they keep a pious and obedient heart. When the little lights had gone out and the mother Margret laid in her bed, she still prayed the beautiful song with her: "Hallelujah, because a divine child was born to us today," the child was tired with joy, she could hardly say the end:
Dearest Savior Jesus Christ,
That you are our brother,
Praise, praise and honor to you!
so she fell asleep already.
The poor mother was also weak and tired, she could hardly prepare his tears for the sick for the night and come to bed; she slept heavily and restlessly. The father could not sleep, his cough troubled him so; he clasped his thin hands and prayed softly that God would take care of his child if it were soon to be alone in this world.
The Rora fair
The last Sunday in Advent has the name Rorate, Tauet! This name comes from the introitus of this day, which, like the introitus of the previous quarter of Wednesday, was taken from the prophet Jsaias and means: "Thaw heaven, the righteous, clouds, rain it down! Open yourself, earth, and sprout the Redeemer out of us!" It is the highest expression of longing for a Redeemer. The heavens should open up and thaw the righteous and righteous, the clouds should rain down, the earth should open up to sprout it. This thought and with it the same longing is expressed in the Rora fair of the holy Advent season:
It is still night, … read more The last Sunday in Advent is called Rorate, Tauet after the old church name! This name comes from the introitus of this day, which, like the introitus of the previous quarter of Wednesday, was taken from the prophet Jsaias and means: "Thaw heaven, the righteous, clouds, rain it down! Open yourself, earth, and sprout the Redeemer out of us!" It is the highest expression of longing for a Redeemer. The heavens should open up and thaw the righteous and righteous, the clouds should rain down, the earth should open up to sprout it. This thought and with it the same longing is expressed in the Rora fair of the holy Advent season:
It is still night when the housemothers and fathers rise from the camp at the great sign of the church bell, light the lights and wake the rest of the house. Everyone is happy and willing to follow the encouraging warning, because they all know why. Little by little all the apartments light up, and those who do not want to light up because their residents have not heard the bells in their sleep are knocked on by the friendly neighbor, who is thanked immediately. But gradually the lights go out again, because the robe intended for church celebrations is put on. You leave the houses and go to the church, from which the warning signal has been given again. It is cold. The way to the church is illuminated by the moon and the starry sky, which looks down clearly. But if it is dark because neither the moon nor the stars are shining, the lanterns that each family carries with them must light up. The neighbors who go together greet each other warmly; the crowd on the churchyard grows with every step.
So it flows from all sides to the house of God, which is illuminated from the altar with a wonderful light, a sign and an image of how Christ as the light of the world shines into the night and darkness of life. This splendor of the church is enhanced by the fact that everyone lights a wax candle, a wax stick and places it in front of them in their church chair. In this way, an infinite number of lights shimmer, and in this abundance of light the community appears as a family. It doesn’t take long to wait for the priest to come to the altar. And now, at the beginning of the service, the congregation can no longer hold itself: deeply and joyfully moved, it lets its interior flow into the song:
Thaw heaven, the righteous,
Clouds, raining him down!
Cried the people in anxious nights,
To whom God made the promise:
Once to see the mediator himself,
And go to heaven;
Because the gate was locked,
Until the Savior came forward.
God the Father let himself be moved,
That he could save us;
And to carry out the advice,
The son wore himself.
Gabriel quickly flew down,
Brought this answer again:
See, I am the master’s handmaid,
It happens to me as God said.
Since the message arrived,
Mary was in prayer.
Since the word meat was adopted,
She went to Elisabeth.
All permeated by the greeting,
John jumped up,
That was sanctified by God,
Before the mother gave birth to him.
This sounded the voice:
Sinner, wake up from slumber!
Because time is approaching us all,
Inhibit your sin run!
Brothers, leave at these times
Prepare our hearts to repent;
Walk on the virtue path,
Put on Jesus Christ!
Let’s walk like a day,
Not in awe and immersion;
Seek to act fairly
Truth, peace and unity.
To completely postpone that,
We expect its arrival:
This is the Christian’s duty,
As the apostle speaks.
You have to attend such a service to fully understand the feelings it awakens. A parable of Jesus comes to mind: the parable of the wise and foolish virgins who met the groom: the assembled believers were not late, the oil in their lamps, with which they meet the Redeemer, burns early and bright.
The worship service, the Rora mass, only intensifies the feeling of longing and expectation through prophetic and evangelical passages that relate to the nearness of the Savior. Finally the priest releases the believers with the blessing of the Blessed Sacrament. Everyone leaves the church to return to their homes. And often, when they leave the house of God, the morning sun of Advent rises like a promise from the Most High.
The first sight of a place like Bethlehem makes a strange impression on the soul; it is as if suddenly the image, which had already been introduced and imprinted on the soul in childhood, emerges from the inner imagination and now becomes an old home, yes, like a material, stone-made part of one’s own soul; and she greets her gaze from afar far more to Bethlehem than to Jerusalem, because the newborn child of relatives is more interesting and sweeter to us than the dying pain man on Calvary because of the child.
Bethlehem was on a hill in front of us, the area is much better cultivated, especially with olive trees, than we had seen in Palestine before. It was already… read more The first sight of a place like Bethlehem makes a strange impression on the soul; it is as if suddenly the image, which had already been introduced and imprinted on the soul in childhood, emerges from the inner imagination and now becomes an old home, yes, like a material, stone-made part of one’s own soul; and she greets her gaze from afar far more to Bethlehem than to Jerusalem, because the newborn child of relatives is more interesting and sweeter to us than the dying pain man on Calvary because of the child.
Bethlehem was on a hill in front of us, the area is much better cultivated, especially with olive trees, than we had seen in Palestine before. It was already evening when we entered the city. A large number of the residents sat and stood around dressed for their holidays, because Bethlehem is predominantly Catholic in a way that probably no other city in the Orient. Because it was Easter, they were wearing their best, colorful clothes; the costume of the long, wide robes is very picturesque. Even more beautiful was the extraordinary friendliness with which people received us. Big and small greeted us partly, partly they showed in a gentle, cheerful smile their joy that so many Christians come from the West. I especially noticed the beauty of the people; it is more excellent and general than I saw it anywhere in Palestine. Jews are not allowed to live in Bethlehem, certainly not without the will of God, nor in Nazareth. The Jew had no business in either place, which would be of great value for his religious memory. But the Christian Bethlehemite must be awakened by the awareness that he has a natural descent from the same place of birth with the Savior of the World, that he is a compatriot; in this respect, too, I was interested in seeing these beautiful, friendly residents of Bethlehem. Even the Son of Man in his glorification must be a loving memory of the earth. There came the shepherds and sages to pay homage to him as a child; the people of Bethlehem did not persecute him like those of Nazareth and Jerusalem; yes, the children of Bethlehem were the first martyrs because of him. That is why a friendly blessing from the Lord may still rest over this place.
Before we returned to the monastery, we first wanted to visit the place where the angels announced the good news to them. You go down about 20 stairs. I have no doubt that this was the right place; because from that time the believers in Christ certainly did not go out to this day in Bethlehem, which is why the science of the place, which the shepherds showed to their descendants, could not go out, that there the heavenly appearance came to them and spoke. A church was later built over this cave by the Empress Helena; the cave has remained, but the church has long since been destroyed; only stone debris and walls broken off to the ground still show their place. An old Arab, whom I thought was a Mohammedan in his turban, lit the lights, indicated the Christian position to praise us in Latin, the Lord’s Prayer, the English salute and the faith.
It was already dusk when we made our way back to Bethlehem, lit lights were shining from above; the city looks like a cellar, as if it were made of old castles. A mild, soft air was poured out over the valley, the pure sky sparkled with its silent stars, as if it wanted to warn us quietly to be silent too. Then we saw, as if the Christmas night had begun again, camp flocks of sheep and shepherds who watched over it. The soul felt in emotion and joy, God not only shows us the place where the holy night, Christmas, has appeared, but like a father kindly shows the children a beautiful picture, so God made us see shepherds and flocks there too , a picture of how it looked here that night.
When I was a child, at Christmas time a so-called crib usually told me the story of the festival in a graceful way. Everything that only a child’s imagination can turn into a bright flame was there: the angel apparitions and the star in the air; the city of Jerusalem with its gates, towers and battlements above the crystal sparkling rocks; flocks of sheep grazing on the slope below; in the bottom of the valley the stable with the child, Maria and Joseph, the adoring shepherds and sages – and all sorts of people, market people, even hunters and game animated the paths that meandered up the mountain. That was for the children’s soul. Now the benevolent God wanted to show me another Christmas night or a living souvenir of it, as it had to arouse the more mature man even more joy than the little crib once did to the child.
If it had been possible to stay alone and spend the night in that shepherd’s valley alone, this would certainly have had a much more powerful effect on the soul than spending the night in the holy burial church. For as sacred as the site is there, they have all become invisible, as it were, through superstructure and marble cladding, while that valley is still meadow, and herds and shepherds are there and the sky with its stars arches over it as more than 1900 years ago when the angels sang their praises there.
The three offerings
I don’t know why I want to please Holy Epiphany every time. It is as if this were a day that shines more fiery and benevolent among the other days of the year, like the morning star under the cluster of other stars. And when someone is pious and reflects, particularly sweet thoughts come to him on the holy Epiphany, as if they were holding a great banquet for the holy three kings in heaven on that day, and Bröselein fell down and fell in the head and into the heart of pious Christians and looked like beautiful thoughts and impressions.
We want to see if we can also catch one:
First we want to open the little box, which… read on I don’t know why I want to please Holy Epiphany every time. It is as if this were a day that shines more fiery and benevolent among the other days of the year, like the morning star under the cluster of other stars. And when someone is pious and reflects, particularly sweet thoughts come to him on the holy Epiphany, as if they were holding a great banquet for the holy three kings in heaven on that day, and Bröselein fell down and fell in the head and into the heart of pious Christians and looked like beautiful thoughts and impressions.
We want to see if we can also catch one:
First we want to open the box that the first king is holding with his beard. There is gold in it. Do you have gold too? Maybe such an old piece wrapped in a piece of paper? And if you don’t have a substantial amount of money now, there will be times when you can get something. – What if you had lived during the three wise men and knew what the child in Bethlehem, the child of the poor virgin, what kind of child it was – what would you have closed your heart to poor royal, divine child? Wouldn’t you have liked to sacrifice your gold piece to him and would you have made it a joy and honor? Yes, if you are otherwise tough and would rather take than give, you might have gotten into the sack and given the noblest coin. You would have thought: it would be wise if I gave the child a righteous gift, it will certainly reward me a thousand times for what I now give him in his poverty when it is big and a lord and a king! – That’s how you would have thought. – And some think: Yes, I would give a lot if I had seen the poor child Jesus myself and should have given him something; I didn’t want anything for it if it had taken something from me; That gives me the greatest joy throughout my life! – Well, wait, is it true, do you enjoy it so much? and did you wish so much to give something to the baby Jesus? Is that true? If so, I know something for you. Just think, I know a place where you can still find the baby Jesus and where it is still so poor; It is not far. See, the Lord said: "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me; and whoever receives a child in my name receives me!" – Therefore, if you give a dime to a poor sick person, it is as if you had given it to Jesus in his poverty. And if you are a shoemaker and you make a pair of shoes for a poor child who is barefoot in the cold, it is just as much as if you had given the barefoot child Jesus a pair of shoes. And it is also the same in all other things, what one gives and does to Jesus because of the poor. And is it not even true that it is exactly as if one had done it to Jesus; it is even better. Because it has a particularly good smell because Jesus has been believed by word of mouth and given a piece of money to a poor man today, given the instruction he gave in the Promised Land eighteen hundred years ago. – Don’t forget that on Epiphany, you let yourself be tasted and done as they did and sacrificing gold or silver or other monetary value to the poor child Jesus! –
What does the other holy epiphany have in the thing that smokes like that? It is said to mean incense; you would smell it from afar if the picture maker could also reproduce the good smell. – Frankincense is only sacrificed to God. The three wise men must have noticed and believed that there was something divine in the child; they have already seen that on the star. Because no common star is lit in the sky because of a common human child. And yet, wherever they come into the little town and see the little house and step into the room and meet the mother and child, everything looks too poor there too; and you have to be amazed that these men have not become doubtful in their heads and have not said to each other: "We must have gone astray, that will not be the right child and the right house!" – They did not allow themselves to be frightened by the little one, and they faithfully and piously worshiped the child and sacrificed incense to him; and it was particularly nice about these noble men that their beliefs did not have to lift and hold weakly on the outer work, but saw freely and strongly further than the eyes of the body saw. In the poor child they saw the king and eternal God. – See now, you Christian! You can practice this noble act of faith every day. If Christ appeared to the three wise men as a minor child, he appears to you as a minor host in the holy mass or monstrance. Believe and look and worship like the three wise men did so faithfully and piously and intimately, and you will then also see him forever.
The third also has a vessel like the second; but there is something else in it; it was myrrh, Scripture says; it is such a precious spit as it grows in the hot countries; you need them to embalm noble dead. But I wanted to bet on it, the third didn’t really know why he sacrificed myrrh. But God knew it and gave it to him. It was a beautiful ceremony that the wise man practiced without knowing what it means. After all, we Christians know it. It is said to mean that the poor child is doomed to a bitter death. –
Now make yourself completely your thoughts, and be careful whether you can think of a few more thoughts; don’t throw them away; they may come from above and do it; – But don’t forget the sacrifice of gold or silver for the poor child Jesus Christ!
Christmas had come. Now there were all sorts of sales booths in the city on the market, which Mathilde was also curious and astonished. Now, when they were released from the factory, she did not let go of holding her arm by the hand until he walked with her through the streets, which were lit up like a festival house, and in the case of snowflakes even threw rays and shine. Now she stood and had great, childlike astonishment in her bright eyes when she stared at the flashing gems below in the jeweler’s shop window, or when she stood in front of the delicate veil robes that the garment designer had pulled over sticks and put into the shop window in full figure, by everyone Illuminated sides and sparkling like with dew … read more Now Christmas had come. Now there were all sorts of sales booths in the city on the market, which Mathilde was also curious and astonished. Now, when they were released from the factory, she did not let go of holding her arm by the hand until he walked with her through the streets, which were lit up like a festival house, and in the case of snowflakes even threw rays and shine. Now she stood and had great, childlike astonishment in her bright eyes when she stared at the flashing gems below in the jeweler’s shop window, or when she stood in front of the delicate veil robes that the garment designer had pulled over sticks and put into the shop window in full figure, by everyone Illuminated sides and glittering as if sown with dew. She laughed and was happy because she also remembered the spider webs that were in the open meadow and on the edge of the forest – and "were a thousand times more beautiful", she said. And then they also stood in front of the cheap shop, and Saleck listened to see if Mathilde wanted to give away somehow. Because he was just her in everything. And he wanted to listen to her now to set a table for her at home in the room.
"Hahaha, an umbrella like that" – it was deep winter. He didn’t understand how Mathilde came on the parasol. She might think that it was particularly valuable people who had time to keep the sun out, that it didn’t burn the skin too much. She probably also thought of the director’s fine car, in which young ladies in loose, cheerful robes and with their silk, colorful lace umbrellas had leaned out of the parking lot. She seemed to want a parasol, and Saleck was secretly happy that he knew. He took a free hour from the porter and bought it secretly and then had it sent to his parlor. Confidently, he said: "If I am not yet at home, the landlady should take him in." This was the case a few times when they now walked around the end of the day under the shop window shimmering in the city, step by step in the crowd, not at all astonished, and here and there also uttering a child’s cry of joy.
And today was Friday – before the festival – the last day, because Friday was Christmas Eve. The factory owners had given everyone half a day’s work and had already finished at noon. Everything poured out of the gates today with a completely different face. My God – how a cheerful feeling can bring so much happiness and glow to people’s eyes and cheeks. One saw almost no more worry, no roughness at all in young faces, which otherwise met cheekily and sneered with one another and threw one after the other with mean words; There was no scandal when Mathilde walked joyfully and freely, and no scornful look at the Huckige walking next to her, almost with shorter steps. Nothing was noticed that the work they came from was monotonous and tiring, as if everyone were invited to be festive – and were friend and brother – and nothing was insulting or offended in their souls. Even the porter gave everyone a friendly greeting. The foremen stood with a smile in the courtyard and handed even old workers the cigars to light and shouted words of happiness that the festival was supposed to be a festival of joy. – And the gentleman came too and could not lift his hat enough to everyone who walked by, and as the doorman jumped to him, he did it as if to say: "Oh, how happy – how nice it is" – and had a friendly smile on his face, which the same replied. It was really like Christmas.
Mathilde had already come home at noon and had explicitly told Saleck that he shouldn’t come until evening. She wanted to clean herself thoroughly once. Bring yourself and your things in order when the holidays come. And also clean the stool so that they could sit by the boiling pot in the evening, and the washed stove bench and the white table, everything about them should also be discussed: today is a celebration. She hadn’t thought of anything else. That Saleck would come and bring her all sorts of things, "oh, no, with no syllable!" – She was hardly used to wishing. If she had astonished, it was far from a wish – even one that should come true. She laughed in the very essence of how she could cry from the essence. It was almost a suffering, her laughter, as she sent Saleck out for a moment, almost finally an inexpressible moment, to set up her little table, around which he put Reiser, and then she entered with astonishment – as if she were looking into a paradise for a moment, where everything seemed to be that your heart could desire – a fine umbrella even, an umbrella and a couple of very fine sleeping shoes, colorful inside and soft, "for feet", she said seriously about the other time. – And she laughed as she looked at it without touching it, quite startled, almost so convulsively at once that it suddenly brought out a stream of tears like bleached tears, such miraculous tears, such tears of joy. Oh, she loved Saleck – she loved him. Such tears had never sprung from her eyes. And she stood and stared and hugged him softly, he almost didn’t know whether it was in pain. And she quickly dried the tears and went to the stove and dared not take anything – until her movement slowly faded. Then she turned him on quietly and was tender and looked at everything one after the other and still didn’t understand that someone was bringing it to her.
And as they sat in silence, in luck, Frau Weber came, neatly and carefully dressed, and asked if they shouldn’t come over, both – because Father Weber would like it, they were pious in life and wanted to go with the boys today Celebrate Christmas. Then they rose, more devout and solemn than ever in life. It was almost a tremor in her chest that Mathilde squeezed behind Saleck and could not breathe as they entered – where the old man – a mighty gray head still full of hair and a gray wreath full of tight bristles around cheeks and throat, otherwise wrinkled – but in his eyes also the joy of celebration that shimmered enigmatically across the whole country – where the old man, who could no longer get up, laughed at them to invite them.
"Come", he said. Mathilde entered very shyly – and Saleck said stiffly: "Good evening – let’s not disturb?"
"Oh", said the old man, laughing – "I’m almost eighty-five, but it’s Christmas – it’s Christmas Eve."
And Frau Weber put the lamp close to the old man’s face, who immediately took a large glass in front of his eye and looked seriously into the Bible book – so that Saleck and Mathilde had understood what it was without any further words; and while she hesitantly took a seat and Frau Weber lit a small tree of lights that began to shine on the drawer, old Weber’s words sounded loud and with trembling joy:"But it came about at the time that a bid came from the Emperor Augustus, that all bets were valued. And that estimate was the very first, and happened at the time Cyrenius was a land keeper in Syria. And everyone went to be valued, everyone in his city. Thereupon Joseph from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, went to the Jewish country to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and the family of David, so that he could be valued with Mary, his fiancee , She was pregnant. And when they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first son, and wrapped him in diapers, and put him in a crib, because otherwise they had no room in the inn. And there were shepherds in the same area in the field at the hurdles, and kept their night watches at their herd. And behold, the angel of the Lord came to them, and the clarity of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. And the angel said to them: Do not be afraid, behold, I proclaim to you great joy that will befall all the people; for a Savior was born to you today, who is Christ the Lord in the city of David. And this is the sign for you, you will find a child wrapped in diapers, and lying in a crib. And immediately there was the multitude of heavenly hosts with the angel, who praised God, and said, Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, and a pleasure to men."
Mathilde shook. She did not know that she had ever heard this story – there was such a wonderful insistence, such power in the faces as the shepherds sleep in the vast, lonely field under their sleeping herd. And from the night and the dark a single ray breaks down to the few guards, and an angel descends through the clouds light that announces to them, the poor shepherd: "Do not be afraid. I announce great joy to you." And it was as if Mathilde had forgotten everything about her and her soul was freed from all fear. Such highness flowed around her from those trembling words of joy that sounded in the room where only Frau Weber sat with folded hands, as if looking wide-eyed, and Saleck sat, hastily sucking every syllable from the old mighty carpenter’s lips – who continued to speak deeply and fully.
He had now pushed the Bible aside and started to make free words that sounded as if they came from far away and not only from his mouth and heart, from thousands and millions – through all the ages of mankind – and he said – always still as if a sparkle of happiness and amazement and blessed gratitude rose from his eyes and mouth, although no smile played around his features: "It is the miracle that Christ became a Christ child. How wonderful that Christ was a child, born in the stable, and a star shone from above. The childhood of Christ is the true miracle – and forever the promise that we must become children in order to come back to God, that God becomes child forever. All promise is in the child. The adoration of the child: what horror grips me when I think of a family that is hopelessly and homeless in the wastes of life, shooed and impoverished, to the hostel in a stable, and now kneeling in front of a child above whom a star shines from above. It’s a curse when we get tough, get rigid, and when we don’t always become like children again and again. " And he repeated it, and everyone felt the wonder that we are still at the crib, where a poor child looks out of the cradle, the eternal hope. And Mathilde fully understood what they never understood. She shivered. And Saleck thought of Mathilde and saw her sitting there as if the sky had been opened a thousand times and hopes that she had never seen were opening up. Her heart was jumping. She listened humbly and her heart was leaping; and looked at the old man and, like Saleck, sucked his words – until he was silent – and everyone was silent for a long time. And "silent Night" it sounded from the withered lips, which again came to mind the trembling, high voice of the old woman – pious and satisfied that even Saleck dared to tune in, very shocked, and Mathilde sang trembling without crying – and then both humbled themselves as before bowed and thanked a father and mother, in almost suffocated words.
It also echoed in Mathilde’s dreams that she cried so fervently with wonder and joy until she awoke from her tears and – still the music of the heavenly host and the proclamation to the poor, lonely shepherd – basically – happy and cheering into the dark, lonely upset. Because in the depths of the poor, too, all the announcements live.
The holy night
When I was five years old I had a great grief. I hardly know if I’ve suffered a heavier one since then.
It was when my grandmother died. Until then she had been sitting in her room on the corner sofa and telling fairy tales.
I can not imagine it other than that grandmother sat and told and told from morning to evening while we children sat and listened very quietly next to her. It was a wonderful life. And there were no children who had it as beautiful as we did. Otherwise I don’t know much about my grandmother anymore. I just remember that she had beautiful, snow-white hair, that she went with her back bent, and that she was always there and … read more When I was five years old I had a great grief. I hardly know if I’ve suffered a heavier one since then.
It was when my grandmother died. Until then she had been sitting in her room on the corner sofa and telling fairy tales.
I can not imagine it other than that grandmother sat and told and told from morning to evening while we children sat and listened very quietly next to her. It was a wonderful life. And there were no children who had it as beautiful as we did. Otherwise I don’t know much about my grandmother anymore. I only remember that she had beautiful, snow-white hair, that she was walking with her back bent, and that she was always sitting there knitting on a stocking.
I also remember that whenever she told a fairy tale she put her hand on my head and said: "And all of this is as true as I see you and how you see me."
I also remember that she could sing songs. However, she did not do this every day. One of these folk tunes was about a knight and a sea woman, and the rhyme was: "The wind is storming so icy cold on sea waves."
And then I remember a little prayer she taught me, and a psalm verse comes to mind. I have only a faint, confused memory of all the beautiful fairy tales she told me. I only remember one story so well that I could retell it. It’s a little story about Jesus’ birth.
See, that’s almost all I still know about my grandmother, except for the one I remember best, and that was the painful longing I felt when she left us. I remember that morning when the corner sofa was suddenly empty and how inconceivable it seemed to us that the hours of that day could end. I remember that. I will never forget that.
And I remember that we children were brought in to kiss the hand of the dead. We were afraid of it, but someone told us that it was the last time that we could thank Grandma for all the joy she had given us.
And I remember how fairy tales and songs, packed in a long, black coffin, lead away from the manor and never came back.
I remember that something out of life had vanished from us at that time. It was as if the gate of a whole wonderful magic world had closed, in which we could go in and out freely beforehand. And now there was no one left who knew how to open this door.
I remember that we children gradually learned to play with dolls and toys and to live like other children – and that may have looked as if we no longer lacked grandmother, or as if we did not remember her.
But still today, after forty years of sitting there and collecting these legends about Christ that I heard in the far east, the little story of Jesus’ birth that my grandmother used to tell arises inside me. And I feel like telling them again and adding them to my collection of legends.
It was a Christmas day when everyone except Grandmother and I went to church. I think we were alone in the whole house. We hadn’t been able to ride because one was too young and the other too old. And we were both very sad that we couldn’t go to the morning meal and couldn’t see the Christmas candles. But when we were sitting in our loneliness, grandmother started to tell:
"Once upon a time there was a man who went out into the dark night to get some fire. He went from hut to hut and knocked on every door, "Help me, you dear people!" He said. "My wife has just recovered from a child and I have to light a fire to warm her and the child."
But it was deep night, so that everyone slept soundly. Nobody answered him.
The man kept going. Finally he saw a bright glow of fire far away. He wandered in that direction and saw that the fire was burning outside. A lot of white sheep were lying around sleeping, and an old shepherd was sitting next to them, guarding the herd.
When the man who wanted to get the fire had reached the sheep, he saw that three large dogs were asleep at the feet of the shepherd. When he came, all three of them woke up and opened their wide throats as if to bark, but no sound was heard. The man saw that the hair on her back was bristling, he saw that her pointed teeth flashed white in the firelight, and he also saw that they were running towards him. He felt that one bit his leg, the second snapped his hand, and the third jumped at his throat. But the jaws and teeth with which the dogs wanted to bite him did not obey, and the man did not suffer the slightest damage.
Now he wanted to go forward to get what he needed. But the sheep were so tightly packed back to back that he couldn’t move forward. And the man strode over the animals’ backs to the fire. But none of them woke up or moved."
Until then Grandmother had been able to tell stories undisturbed, but I couldn’t hold on to myself any longer without interrupting her. "Why didn’t they do it, grandmother?" I asked. "You will find out soon," Grandmother said and continued to tell.
"When the man had reached the fire, the shepherd looked up. He was an old, violent man, rude and tough on everyone. When he saw a stranger approaching, he reached for a long, pointed staff, which he used to hold in his hand when he grazed his flock, and hurled it at the man. The wand was whizzing towards him, but before it could hit it, it moved aside and flew past it into the field."
When Grandma got this far, I interrupted her again. "Grandmother, why didn’t the stick want to meet the man??" But Grandmother didn’t care about my question, but continued with her story.
"Now the man came to the shepherd and said to him: ‘Dear, help me and let me take some of your blaze! My wife has just recovered from a child and I have to light a fire to warm her and the child. ‘
The shepherd wanted to cut him off, but he thought that his dogs had done no harm to this man, that the sheep had not run away from him, and that his staff had not wanted to stretch him out. Then he felt a little anxious and did not dare to refuse the request. "Take as much as you need!" He said to the man.
The fire, however, was almost completely burned down. There were no logs or twigs, only a large pile of embers lay there, and the stranger had no shovel or bucket to carry the red-hot coals in.
When the shepherd saw this, he said again: "Take as much as you need!" And he was glad that the man would not be able to take the embers with him.
But the man bent down, read the glowing coals from the ashes with his bare hands and wrapped them in his coat. And the coals did not scorch his hands or coat, and the man carried them away as if they were apples and nuts."
But here I interrupted the storyteller for the third time. "Grandmother, why didn’t the coals want to burn the man?"
"You will still find out," Grandmother said and continued to tell.
"When that shepherd, who was such an evil and violent person, saw all of this, he asked himself in wonder: ‘What can it be for a night when the dogs don’t bite, the sheep don’t fear, the spear doesn’t kill and that Fire not scorched? ‘He called the stranger back and said to him:’ What kind of night is this? And how is it that all things show you mercy? ‹
Then the man said: "I cannot tell you if you do not recognize it yourself." And wanted to go his way so that soon a fire could be lit and his wife and child warmed up.
The shepherd, however, thought that he did not want to lose sight of the man completely before he learned what all this meant. He got up and followed him until he got to where the stranger lived.
Then the shepherd saw that the man did not even have a hut to live in, but his wife and child lay in a rock cave that had only bare, cold stone walls. And the shepherd thought that the poor innocent child might freeze to death and die in this cave, and although he was a hard-hearted man, this misery touched him and he thought about how he could help the child. He loosened his satchel from his shoulder and took a soft, white sheepskin from it, gave it to the strange man and said that he should put the child on it.
But as soon as he showed that he too could be compassionate, his eyes were opened and he saw what he hadn’t noticed before and heard what was previously closed to his ears:
He saw that he was standing in the midst of a dense group of small, silver-sprinkled angels that formed a circle around him. And every little angel played a string, and everyone sang in a jubilant voice that that night the Savior was born who would save the whole world from their sins.
Then he understood why even all lifeless things were so glad that night that they couldn’t harm anyone.
And not only were angels around the shepherd, he was aware of them everywhere. They were sitting in the rock cave, and they were sitting outside on the mountains, also flying back and forth under the sky. They came walking in great numbers on the paths, and when they passed they stopped and looked at the little child in the cave.
Cheers and joy, song and play were everywhere, and the shepherd saw it in the dark night in which he had seen nothing else. Delighted that his eyes were open, he dropped to his knees and praised God."
And when Grandmother had come this far, she sighed and said: "But what the shepherd saw, we could also see, because the angels fly under the sky every Christmas night if we can only recognize them."
And then Grandma put her hand on my head and said: "You should be mindful of that, because it is as true as I see you and you see me. It is not a question of candles and lamps, nor of the sun and moon, but what is necessary is only that we have the right eyes to see God’s glory."
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