At Christmas 1970 (now already 47 years ago!) Karel was in Gontor for his PhD research. Living in the the pesantren, the boarding school with 1200 students. Life went on as usual. Students even did not realize that it was Christmas, because Ramadan had just finished three weeks before and they lived in the Muslim calendar. Nowadays things have changed: public life, also in Indonesia if full with Santa Claus, Christmas carols and more shopping. However, I saw in the university library here in Utrecht that the 'special opening schedule' for 25 and 26 December is from 10:00 until 18:00. Also the big supermarkets have open doors on these days. In the Netherlands intellectual and economic life goes on also during Christmas! There is no longer a dominating Gesamtkunstwerk or an all-encompassing cultural and religious idea. Christmas is celebrated, but it is not the only idea. Is this what the Indonesian want with Islam Nusantara, a fragmented, inculturated, and not a totalitarian idea.
I remembered the special ceremonies we had in Yogyakarta with the Wayang Natalan, written in 1985: in a mixed setting of the old story, the traditional style of the wayang and the mixed audience, from the expat community and the staff of the Islamic University. Below is the craddle of the baby Jesus, in leather, made at suggestions of Abdurrahman 'Wiyakusuma'.
But at this moment Paule and Karel, we enjoy our good health, of ourselves and the children and grandchildren. The latter grow fast and turn into individual personalities. Only Mette, now 3 years old, is still coming once a week. The others are Sophie already 8 years old, Diemer and Maud 5 years. Mette accompanied us today to the Christmas market, a gardening centre, now dominated by all kind of snow, Santa Claus, this year even a chapel-like structure, including a place for confessions.
Karel wrote many daily impressions and thoughts on his two blogs: one in Dutch http://karelsteenbrink.blogspot.nl and http://relindonesia.blogspot.nl, the English language one. So we leave it with this: a merry Christmas and a blessed 2018 for you!