Wishing you a
Merry Christmas and a Happy* New Year
I would like to show you a picture that surely touches the heart of many German Christians:
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger alias Benedict XVI from Bavaria, Germany's south, pontifex maximus of the Catholic church, head of Vatican State and Joachim Gauck from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany's north, Lutheran pastor, Federal President, both Männer des Geistes (men of the humanities), smilingly sit opposite to each other without reserve. In the back watching is Vatican's George Clooney, the popes secretary and recently appointed Titular Archbishop of Urbs Salvia, Georg Gänswein who by the way still keeps his apartment in Freiburg's Herrenstraße.
*In Germany we rather use the adjective Healthy instead of Happy in particular when we are of an advanced age
The photo (dpa) was recently taken during Gauck's official state visit to the Vatican. The picture is one of hope for my country, for centuries nearly torn apart by religious quarrels. Although I must admit that nowadays the majority of Germans couldn't care less about their Christian past. As in other countries less and less people exercise their religion. In Germany's east whole regions even are pagan following 45 years of atheistic rule. This is a country to be evangelized like at the time of Saint Boniface more than a thousand years ago.
Those of you who visited the Freiburger Münster have possibly seen the original stained glass windows and looked at the following scene with a smile.
New born Jesus is wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger with the ox eating the child's diaper. Father Joseph is not amused and with his cane he hits the ox on the snout. Humor around 1300.