There is no greater power than love. It overcomes hatred as light overcomes darkness. – Martin Luther King
Love, such an expressive word, such a tender word, a word that cannot be read and heard often enough – a word that wants to be used with care, a word full of mystery.
This does not make it easy to write about this so precious word.
But like every month I followed my inner voice and therefore dedicate my December blog to love. Maybe also because we all need a lot of love in these so turbulent times – and it seems that the older we get, the harder it is for us to receive and give love, because we have lost our innocence and lightheartedness and our ego keeps getting in our way? When I speak of love here, I mean the love that gives and does not want to receive back, that forgives, forgives and does not compare and judge, that is patient, loyal and light-hearted – I ask myself when and in which situations and how often we allow it, make it possible to actually experience love like that.
The moment of a birth, where mother and father can see and touch their newborn for the first time, a long-awaited reunion with loved ones, the memory of carefree childhood moments, the love to and from special people – the experience of unconditional love in dealing with children or in relationships with (domestic) animals….
I am grateful that already as a child I was allowed to get to know who in the Christian understanding embodies this so precious, unconditional and timeless love. With great joy I remember a ritual that our dear mother used to perform with us children during Advent. With great passion, my mother told us about the imminent birth of the baby Jesus and that we should make sure that ‘baby Jesus’ could lie very softly in his manger – there was a small wooden manger that my father made and a bag full of straws. For each ‘good deed’, one of us children was allowed to put a straw in the manger. Eagerly we thought of good and loving deeds and on the 24th of December the manger was always full of straws and the christchild could be lovingly placed in the manger. This ritual and the birth of Christ still touch my heart today.
How do I manage to feel and pass on this unconditional love again and again in order to stay in my heart and keep negativity away from me?
I am helped by my faith, my spiritual work and my positive nature – I love life and am happy to inspire and motivate others – this gives me strength and confidence.
“God loves each individual as if there were no one but Him to whom He could give His love.”
– Augustine of Hippo
JU’s 3 questions for December are 👇
👉What do you think of when you hear the word love – is there a fond childhood memory you want to share?
👉What solutions do you currently see for our divided society – what steps can we take to get closer again?
👉Christmas – the feast of love – how do you experience this feast? Are there rituals that, in your experience, strengthen our love for each other?
🙍🏼♀️🇦🇹 Annegret REINER-PFEIFFER
Three Towers III in my neighborhood caught the attention of both of us and finally brought us together. Thank you, dear Annegret, for contacting me via Instagram and giving me the chance to get to know you and your business in person/on site 🔝. Annegret and I have only known each other for a short time – our spontaneous meeting was a real enrichment. I appreciate Annegret’s passion, creativity, professionalism, warmth and determination. I am very much looking forward to further meetings. Annegret is a holistic childcare provider and loves gardening, running as well as healthy eating, children and nature.
🙎🏻🇦🇹🇨🇿🇩🇪🇺🇸 Bibiana BINSTORFER
I first met Bibiana as a customer in her Pie Factory – and I remember very well to have been thrilled by Bibi’s calmness, cordiality, openness and creativity, in no time.
So, I was very pleased when we met again years later as colleagues at the HTL 3 Rennweg – it was almost like seeing a soulmate again. I admire in Bibiana her gift of listening, her balancing and loving nature as well as her interest and openness to change and innovation – I am very grateful that we also get to work as a team again and again – Bibi is a true ‘team player’ – she naturally shines when working on a team. In her free time, she loves to find time for sports (skiing, handball, swimming), traveling as well as Bibi appreciates going out for ‘very good’ food and spending ‘quality time’ with friends.
Eva-Maria has known me since I was born – she is my 5-year older sister who has always protected me and ‘looked out’ for me – I have always looked up to Evi with curiosity and pride and seen her as my role model – unfortunately we spent far too little time later as sisters as we took very different paths. What I admire about Evi is her beauty – my brother and I loved to take photos of the photogenic sister, her cleverness and creativity, her big heart for ‘people on the run’, for people trying to integrate into our society – at this point a big thank you for your valuable and loving volunteer work 🎩🙏🏻. Eva-Maria worked her dream job ‘graduate hospital nurse’ for many years, has recently retired and in her spare time she loves reading, hiking, listening to music and spending time with her grandchildren.
When I hear the word “love” I think of a big word, a very strong word. And because it’s so big and strong and not easy for me to grasp and describe, it can sometimes definitely intimidate me and create pressure. Therefore, I prefer the love in the small things of life. In the small moments and encounters that we have every day, but unfortunately too often overlooked or too quickly forgotten again: When homegrown plants sprout from the earth in spring, when the freshly fallen snow crunches under my running shoes, when I feel that someone is thinking of me, when I can give someone a little joy…. These are LOVing moments for me and many of these small moments full of love add up to be infinitely big and powerful.
When people’s personal opinions, values and attitudes drift apart, visualizing them as a continuum helps me – as so often in life. Each of us is with his opinion at a certain point of this continuum, this “ray”. Some then often see their point of view as the only truth. But there is not the one and only truth. There is not only black or white. Everything is connected, interwoven, merges into each other. So, it’s a matter of getting to know the truth of the other and moving towards each other step by step.
The further you are from each other on this continuum, the longer it takes to find each other and thus the truth of the other. In any case, many – often persistent – small steps towards each other are necessary. Tugging and pulling at the “other” to get him on “my side” only has the opposite effect. You have to pick each other up where you are and go towards each other step by step. And if in the end you also take your old starting point again, the understanding for the other person will be a greater one.
In our living room hangs, now in the pre-Christmas season, a “Thank you Advent calendar”, a ribbon on which 24 small cards hang. The idea for this calendar was born in November last year, from a feeling of great love and gratitude towards my husband and son. From December 1 to December 24, I wrote them both a little message every day about what I am thankful for right now. Then on Christmas Eve, I made you the calendar as a gift.
Now that I think about it, this could actually become a wonderful ritual to strengthen our love for each other. Strengthening love through gratitude! And maybe not only at Christmas!
Thank you, Judith, for what you do and what you do!
When I hear the word love, many images, memories and feelings come to my mind. First and foremost, I think of my grandma. She was love in person and always had an open ear for everyone. Primarily, of course, for us, her grandchildren and children, but also for complete strangers whom she met on the bus, for example. I remember that every year she invited two ladies from Jehovah’s Witnesses to come in and discussed with them in an appreciative manner, even though she did not share their believes. This magnanimity of hers made her a great role model for me.
The feelings I had at the births of my children were probably love in its purest form. I also like to write friends in the welcome cards of their newborns to remember this feeling for as long as possible (preferably over and over) because, as we well know, there are always challenging times ahead with children. Then it is very helpful to become aware of this unconditional love again.
Well, I think the example I brought about my grandma and the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a very good one on how to come closer. I firmly believe that it is inevitable that we humans show respect for each other. Basically, I believe, everyone wants to be loved – and accepted – for their own sake. If we can approach each other openly and listen to the other with appreciation and curiosity, it can help us to learn from each other and broaden our own horizons. I think that if we ask more questions and examine the background to the actions of others, if we engage openly in discussions and also allow other opinions, we have already taken a big step in the right direction.
One factor that is particularly close to my heart is that I wish we would all look more at the good in others again. Focus on the positive instead of constantly pointing fingers at the shortcomings and the negative! Maybe every day we can try to give at least one person a compliment, a smile or even a hug.
Christmas has always been a family celebration for us. Everyone came together, grandparents, my parents, great aunts and uncles, and of course we children, over time our partners and again our children. Sadly, of course, with time, the circle has become smaller and smaller. I have tried to keep this tradition alive as long as possible.
The rituals that accompany us on this day and evening are the joint preparation for the evening. The Christmas tree, which we decorate together, the nativity scene, which is usually set up by the children, the beautiful setting of the table and also the pretty dressing. In the evening, we sing and play music together in the glow of the candles, distribute the packages together, which is always very exciting for the children, and then sit together in a cozy atmosphere. Then we eat and chat. In recent years, my mother has always read a selected Christmas story. This has also become a nice tradition, because most of the time these stories tell about earlier times and how life was back then. I find that this also awakens a little humility and gratitude for what we have and how well we are doing in reality.
Love should be unconditional and not linked to any requirements. Whoever loves should also be able to let go. Love has nothing to do with possessions – loving the other person for his own sake, with all his qualities.
Love is a strong feeling – one feels attracted to a person.
Whoever loves does not first switch on the brain, but the heart – accompanied by much empathy, understanding, warmth of heart, much affection, intimacy and much devotion.
Our childhood was characterized by a lot of love, embedded in a sheltered home.
First and foremost, it is important that we respect each other and try to put ourselves in each other’s shoes, without patronizing and with tolerance; reflect on our own patterns of action, understand that many actions in the current situation happen out of fear and uncertainty. Each individual should not take himself too seriously and exaggerate his own opinion too much.
Approach each other again more, preserve common interests, start joint activities, as in times before Corona; cultivate more appreciation and mutual understanding.
Despite all the adversities of the current situation, do not lose the courage to face life and look positively into the future.
I like to think back to the Christmas of my childhood. It was characterized by beautiful rituals, a lot of peace, deceleration, time together, little hustle and bustle and great anticipation of Christmas Eve. In today’s restless, hectic times, it is very difficult to reflect and practice various rituals with the family, although I intend and wish to do so from year to year. Personally, I try to get in the mood for Christmas during the pre-Christmas period by singing Advent songs, baking cookies, reading religious texts and attending church services. It would be nice if people in families would again seek more togetherness and learn to approach each other again.
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