Dick a friend in the Netherlands sent me this image and reflections:
the picture in yesterday's newspaper gives a winter-scene in the Southern part of The Netherlands in the year 1566, being a detail of a painting by Pieter Bruegel senior.
That era was a hectic period in the church in western Europe, right after the reformation. But the painter paints a familar picture of the Middle Ages, with Joseph and Maria on the way to be registered. In fact he paints the people who are going to pay tax to the then Spanish ruler in the Netherlands.
No child Jesus yet to see. Still hidden and covered with Maria. The painter shows a winter landscape, in his typical realistic way.
....the poet J.Gerardt living in that same era, expresses himselves in a mystical way when he writes his verses about Advent. He left us a good number of Christmas-hymns, and writes: "May I, may the church, may we be the soft manger to receive You. Come and lay deep in me, come my dear!".
This is a type of mystical expression of Advent, we have lost in our orthodox protestant-calvinistic way of thinking in Holland soon after the Reformation.
Also in our modern time we we do not express ourselves in this way!
Advent gives hope, and Christmas light to this world.
Jesus later asks his disciples: "What do people say whom I am". And the given replies are manifold, also till today. Who is He? Yes, there is an answer. There are answers, also with me. But often we can't express the fulness of it.