Happy Christmas other than we would like.

“Another Christmas that is completely different from what we would like,” said outgoing Prime Minister Rutte when he announced another lockdown about ten days ago. What you call ironic, because what characterizes our will but that it does not wish to offer space to the Christ Child? ‘No place in the night quarters of the city’ at birth, vomited at the end of his life…

Oh, how we crave peace and happiness. Towards enlightenment and growth. But according to our ideas please. Our will be done.

It is precisely a Christmas that is ‘completely different from what we want’ to put us on the trail of the deepest meaning of the Christmas story. Can open us to the birth of the Christ child, also in us.

Make a list for that. Write down: you would have wanted this differently this Christmas, you would have hoped that it would not happen, this is in your stomach, life is bothering you sister, that is how things are going against you.
Everything you wouldn’t want, the people, events or things that make you feel dissatisfied. Any fear, envy, anger or resentment you sense in yourself: give it room. Do not look for the light in yourself, for the pious, beautiful or holy, but give voice to the dark, the banal, the shit. See it, name it and write it down. Line after line after line.

And then read it back out loud. Let it express itself with all the drama it carries. And again. And again. And welcome it unconditionally. Allow it to come in full force into your ears, travel through your whole body, and disappear out at your toes.

Everything you want and find and feel, hope and expect – ripe, green, beautiful, ugly, desirable or not – : give it active voice and become passively present for it. Experience it unconditionally. Without wanting anything with it, something
to find.

And at some point it will dawn on you: no greater Christmas obstacle than that will of mine.

A merry Christmas, very different from what you might want, wishes you, also on behalf of the board of Jan XVII,

Thomas of Cleves

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