Christmas Party of the Free Spirits

Sometimes, pictures can say more than a thousand words. This one provides such a case. You see the warmth of smiling faces, a homely set table and the light that is so peculiar for many of our homes during this season. Such was the Christmas party of our seniors at our house in Jamesburg.

Years ago of course, one could have been justified in finding my observations somewhat tacky. The Advent season was just not meant to instill warm and positive feelings in us. Theologically, the entire theme of penance and preparation for eternal life comes to mind.

But our times have changed. For us as Protestant Christians, penance and eternal life make only sense when viewed through the lens of God’s unconditional love and the grace of His forgiveness. This, however, is something we seem to lose more and more in our society. Instead, civil life reflects a lot of anger, of “Know-it-all” and “You-owe-me”. And more often than not entire groups — like our city administration here in New Brunswick — find themselves under attack from high-handed individuals. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, the retiring general secretary of our denomination, said recently about the necessity for change “in the rancorous, spiteful nature of public and political discourse.”

Now look again at the picture of the Christmas party of our seniors, the “Free Spirits”. I believe there is quite a message expressed around that table. Thank God for our seniors!

About Rev. Dr. Hartmut Kramer-Mills

Hartmut Kramer-Mills, a native of Jena, Germany, began his theological education at Heidelberg University. After the Middle Exam in 1986 he received a scholarship from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He graduated from McCormick with a Master of Divinity in 1988. He graduated from Marburg University in Germany with the Ecclesiastical Exam in 1990, and received a Dr. theol. from Greifswald University, Germany, in 1997. From 1990 to 1991 he was vicar at St. Wenzel in Naumburg, Germany. He was ordained minister of word and sacrament in 1993 through the Protestant Church of the Church Province of Saxony. From 1993 to 1998 he served as assistant pastor in Stoessen, Goerschen, and Rathewitz, Germany. At the same time he was lecturer for Church History at Erfurt College in Germany. From 1999 to 2000 he served the Spotswood Reformed Church in New Jersey as interim pastor. Since 2000 he and his wife serve the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as co-pastors.
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