dinsdag 21 december 2010

Big Words: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011

This is our more or less traditional end-of-the-year letter with a short report of our present condition and best wishes for all our friends. As to the first theme: there are so many blogs written here that we feel it not necessary to give more information. Paule and Karel are happy to stay in good mental and physical health (the only major inconvenience this year was the broken arm of Paule due to the heavy snow early this year). We were very happy with the same condition for our children with one more serious exception: Irene Vink, wife of Stijn, had a very serious injury in her left knee in a bicycle incident in The Hague, where here bicycle entered the rail of the local tram. She fell in an unlucky way and had to stay at home for nearly three months, still working through electronic means and only few times visiting the office of her company. Our granddaughter Sophie is a happy and eager small girl, thoughtful and quiet. She gives us and her parents Irene and Stijn much joy.
Floris and Inge are doing very well too in Amsterdam. They finished the renovation of their house and cared for the spacious garden, stayed in good physical condition with running, cycling and skating.
Karel was quite busy with work in Kampen (until August, replacement for a colleague with a sabbatical) and for courses for adult people. The last candidate for a doctoral dissertation, Fredrik Doeka, stayed in our house for two months (September-October) and all this work prevented Karel from writing seriously for the 3d volume of Catholics in Indonesia. But two books will be published soon: the English translation of The Jesus verses in the Qur'an and a commentary on the 2d Sura of the Qur'an.

In our Dutch weblog I wrote a meditation on the discussion we had in our Church of St John, related to the inauguration speech of Jesus in Luke 4,14-21: where he announces a man who receives the Spirit of the Lord, anointment and will bring good news to the poor, prisoners and the blind. The people of Nazareth are not convinced and remain quite sceptical. The Prince of Peace he is called and also the angels, according to the story of Christmas, sing about peace on earth. But what has become reality after this declaration of a new programme? Not everything of these promise has been realized, even quite little. Therefore no traditional sweet image of Mary and Jesus, but an angry Mary who punished this little Lord Jesus!

This is a painting by Max Ernst from 1926. Maria has a red underdress(indicating the divine character of Jesus) and then a blue robe (for the full human nature of Jesus). Jesus´ crown has fallen and so he becomes a common child. There are three witnesses± friends of Max Ernst. Not all Big Words of Jesus and his biographers have been realized. We must be happy with the small things, the rays of light that we see in this world. We are more than satisfied with that and we wish all our readers a reasonable portion of this light and happiness.
With best wishes for 2011!! Karel and Pauline Steenbrink

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