© 2019 by Esther Murbach

  • Esther Murbach

Weihnacht muss sein / Christmas Is Unavoidable

17.12.2014


Deutsch:

Kulturhistorisch gesehen ist unser Weihnachtsfest eine Mischung von christlicher und heidnischer Tradition. Die Feier zur Geburt von Christus, dem Erlöser, fällt mit den Ritualen der keltischen Wintersonnenwende zusammen. Behängte Bäume, das Schmücken des Heims mit immergrünen Zweigen – Lorbeer bei den alten Römern, Misteln bei den Kelten – symbolisierten schon vor Jahrtausenden Lebenskraft und Frühlingserwachen.

Weihnacht muss ein. Den einen zur Freude, den andern zur Qual. Zwischen diesen beiden Extremen gibt es viele Schattierungen, jede/r kann sich davon seine eigene aussuchen. Rummel, religiöse Besinnlichkeit und mehr oder weniger friedliche Familienfeiern halten sich die Waage. Heinrich Böll hat dies vor mehr als 50 Jahren in seiner genialen Parabel “Nicht nur zur Weihnachtszeit” satirisch thematisiert.

Nicht ganz so weit geht mein untenstehendes Poem. Ist es bei Böll Tante Milla, die das Weihnachtsfest nach ihrem Gusto definiert, tut dies bei mir Tante Rosie. Ein Weihnachtsgedicht der etwas anderen Art …


English:

The historico-cultural background of our Christmas is a mix of christian and pagan traditions. Celebrating the birth of Christ the Saviour coincides with the rituals of the celtic winter solstice. Ornate trees, decoration of the home with evergreen twigs – laurel for the old Romans, mistletoe for the Celts – have symbolized vitality and spring awakening for millenia.

Christmas is unavoidable. To some it means joy, to others ordeal. Everyone is free to choose his/her own shade between the extremes. Bustle, religious meditation and more or less peaceful family gatherings balance each other. More than 50 years ago, Heinrich Böll commented this in his brilliant, satirical parable ”Christmas Not Just Once a Year”.

My poem, which you find below, doesn’t take things quite that far. In Böll’s case it is aunt Milla who defines Christmas family gatherings to her personal gusto. In my case it is aunt Rosie. A Christmas poem of the more unusual kind …




Christmas According to Rosie

Take umpteen of the usual scene same procedure as every year brace yourself against it so far you have always survived and every time you think maybe this year it won’t be so bad

Christmas is a sacred tradition generally considered to be about Jesus alone love thy neighbours and family members never mind grudges ignore pagan backgrounds midwinter, Alban Arthuan, Rauhnächte and such as they might spoil even soil the claim of pure holiness

Do not mention discrepancies under the flamboyant tree God might not approve secular footnotes nor would aunt Rosie

For she is the family expert on the exactly right way to celebrate the Holy Feast this authority bestowed on her by the Lord himself or at least by one of his deputies and woe to all who doubt that

The odour of sour grapes wafting around the festive table never reaches her nostrils

Each year she claims this will be her last time to host the gathering of her beloved and less beloved ones for surely she will push up the daisies before their buds are even ready to take a peek at next spring

Who am I to disappoint a dying dear when the tear trickling through the phone into my ear implores me again please, be here

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