When I awoke that morning, the morning of Christmas, I had a severe headache. It was as if I had run against a jamb, so much did it hurt a spot on the forehead. As I fingered it, I also noticed a rather imposing bump that resembled a horn in the middle of my forehead. With difficulty I sat up. And found me alone. Where were Jesus and Mary? The sunbeams fell through the windows, full and sober. As they deserve in December. But there was nobody there. Everything was quiet around me. Even the dogs were not there. what happened there? Only then did I realize that the house was also wrong. I was certainly not in God’s Cottage in Ireland, but somewhere else, but where?
Slowly I straightened up and looked around. The memory came back and with it the astonishment. The room I was in was the one I called home. Strangely, how had I come here without my noticing? So, I lay down again and closed my eyes. I had spent the last few days with Jesus and Mary, so I think, and of course with the dogs. We had laughed and joked, but also discussed and analyzed. We had tea. How to do it in Ireland. Also, on the long walks I remembered and the fire in the fireplace. Suddenly I opened my eyes and looked in the direction of the fireplace in our house. There was a fire actually burning, and I could not remember lighting it with the best of my will. What was going on? What happened? It was impossible to grasp, only that I felt weak, of whatever, that was obvious. Again, I dropped back into the pillows, on the couch in the living room where I had been lying down. I did not even know anything about it. Maybe I should just stay and wait and see what happens. Maybe somebody would come and explain it to me someday.
Then suddenly and completely unexpectedly the door was pushed open. It was the front door. A rush of cold air blew in the arriving people. Only a small part of it reached me, but it let me guess that it had to be very cold outside. The storm was raging and, as I checked out the window, he jumbled the snowflakes, which were supposed to fall calm and gently from the sky. It did not allow it.
Voices joined the stomping feet. Shoes were knocked off and taken off, coats or jackets were hung up. I heard them laugh. Exuberance and happy mood seemed to prevail. Then the newcomers came in and to me.
“Hello Mom!” they said in unison, my children.
“Hello you two,” I replied wearily.
“Are you feeling better?” my daughter asked as she studied my bump with interest.
“I think so,” I said, a little uncertainly, “But what happened.”
“Nothing really exciting,” replied my son, “you just ran against the doorstep and you’ve obviously pushed your head badly. But after you were alright, we put you here on the couch.”
“And I thought I was in Ireland, in God’s Cottage, but he was not there, I mean God, but Jesus and Mary, with whom I spent the days of Advent,” I said suddenly, “We also have four Dogs saved.”
“You always have such interesting dreams,” said my daughter, completely unperturbed, probably because she had known me for a good while, “Shall I make tea?”
“Gladly,” answered my son, turning to me, “and why were you there?”
“I was so frustrated with the events in the world and the consumerism around me, and all these things, you know, what’s going wrong, that I thought, how could you celebrate Christmas in such a world. This is actually a farce,” I summarized my thoughts at that time, “Therefore, I decided to search for the meaning of Christmas. Actually, I intended to keep my search short. And who better informed me than God himself? So I went to ask God what the meaning of Christmas was.”
“And he has told you?”, intervened my daughter, who had apparently listened attentively from the kitchen.
“No, he was not there, just Jesus,” I replied.
“Do not be a fun-devil now,” my daughter interjected, “Jesus is also God, as we have all learned, Trinity and such.”
“Eh, but God father always comes across as a different caliber,” I said thoughtfully.
“Anyway, we do not want to make any theological discourse now, least of all about the Trinity,” interrupted my son, “But did you get an answer from Jesus?”
“Not directly, but we have found them together,” I explained, recapitulating the events of the last days. “From all sides we approached the question, and came to a single conclusion, always the only one.”
“Shall we sit down at the fireplace?” my daughter asked, and without waiting for a real answer, she placed tea and biscuits on the cuddly spot in front of the fire. Only then did I notice that there was a scent in the air, a scent that reminded me of my childhood, the scent of oranges and cinnamon, cloves and wax, the scent of Christmas. There was a Christmas tree in the corner. Our artificial Christmas tree, which we had for many years. It had been a compromise back then because we agreed that we did not want to kill any more trees, but the kids still wanted a tree. So, this came into the house and would probably continue to serve us well for many years.
“Did you decorate the tree?” I asked.
“Of course,” my daughter replied, “We also cooked and shopped, while Mother preferred to lie on the couch, unconscious, and let us do all the work.”
“I’m so sorry,” I said automatically, but also because I was really sorry, “I would have loved to do that with you.”
“Do not be so deadly serious,” my son replied, laughing. “First of all, you have that for many, many, many years …”
“… because I liked to do it and because we always had a lot of fun with each other …”, I just had to interject.
“We all know that, but what happens when we do that?” my daughter asked, “And believe me, we also had a lot of fun with it. Is that brother’s heart?” And with that she playfully pushed her brother in the side.
“Yes, we did,” he confirmed, “but you still have not told us what you’ve found out about the meaning of Christmas,” he resumed the conversation thread from earlier.
“The purpose of Christmas is to live life, guided by love, to make love alive and to drive it for what we work and do in the world,” I summarized, “The meaning of Christmas is vibrant Love, loving life, like two rosebushes that have inextricably intertwined, so shall be life and love. And with the arrival of the baby Jesus, with the birth, with this symbol of a new beginning, it becomes clear that you can start every day that it is not too late.”
“Christmas is drinking tea and chatting and eating biscuits and being together and laughing and understanding each other,” my daughter added.
“Warmth and security and the smell of orange and cinnamon, cloves and candles,” added my son.
“So basically what we do here,” my daughter said, “That’s exactly what it can be. And yes, I’ve often thought so too. It does not matter what kind of gifts are under the tree or how much you have, as long as you live together peacefully and joyfully.”
And it was the moment when I realized how richly gifted I was and because it was exactly what we had been doing for years, being together in peace and joy, living love, loving life. Despite the pain of all the injustice and lovelessness that still prevailed in the world, even at Christmas. Despite all the insights, it could be very different, so the message of Christmas had meaning. Spontaneously, I hugged my children.
“Merry Christmas!” I wished them.
“We have them,” they confirmed as the fire in the fireplace crackled hard. It was good the way it was. It was Christmas as it should be.