Merry Christmas

Yes, we’re still here. The domesday prophets were wrong – again. There’s no need to cry wolf, and even if there are several hardships in this life, and things in our world that we have to be cautious with and aware of plausible real dangers, we have to stand our ground with both feet steady in the soil in order to make our potential best for living in the present world and prepare for the future. The problems in our world do exist in legio, the loss of employments and cut-downs in our infrastructure, exclusion of various individuals and groups in society, cynical and evil ways of treating each other or coping with life and war-mongering.

The protests against the sexual harrassments on internet in Gothenburg this week continued. In contrast to the riots about 100 people gathered two days ago in central Gothenburg to protest peacefully against the sexism and harrassments on internet. That was a good initiative. After the horrendous gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi last weekend the protests in India have been enormous. Many women especially have been furious for obvious reasons, and the life of the attacked young woman is destroyed, her feelings and her body. Many in India now want death penalties for rapists. Better and more affectionate forms of love and desire is needed in India and everywhere else to improve the relationships between the sexes.

Yesterday a man in Berlin, Germany, attacked a bank and took one of the employees as a hostage. After a while the man surrendered to the police. Why did he do this? Maybe this was another effect of the ongoing crisis in society, and the devestating effects it has on many people’s economy and general life. In Alexandria, Egypt, people were fighting each other and many were wounded in the struggle for a real democracy in the country. Today it’s the second round of the referendum concerning a new constitution. Muhammed Mursi has support from mainly the Muslim Brotherhood, but the more liberal forces, the different ethnic and religious minorities and the women of the country have many things to fear if Mursi’s suggestions win. I hope for Egypt’s sake that the more liberal and modern groups will get the upper hand, even if it looks gloomy.

Despite all the problems that exist we still have to believe in the positive aspects of being human. We can be loving, we can be caring, we can be gentle and helpful, even if we also must have our limitations to survive as individuals. Now it’s Christmas time. Many people prepare for the holidays and for celebrating in one way or the other. So will I. This is the last text for a few days. I will return with new blog texts in about a week. Now I will make my own preperations for Christmas, meet a dear friend I haven’t seen for a long time and other things to make the Christmas holidays a good time to socialise with my kin and others. Love and respect to you all.

Anders Moberg, December 22d 2012

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Time for a change

Today is December 21st 2012. For domesday prophets this will be the last day on Earth. It has to do with interpretations of the so called Maya calendar. The Maya empire flourished in Central America during the Middle Ages, but ended 500 years ago, even though the Mayas still exist as a people in Mexico and Guatemala. The Mayas had different calanders which they used in their religion to predict celestrial phenomena, to structure their lifes and predict the future. One of these calanders was built on time units called “baktuns”, periods of 394 years. According to that Maya calander today, December 21st 2012, is the end of baktun number 13. The Mayas had something they called “the long counting” and that counting ends with baktun 13. The domesday prophets within the New Age-movement and elsewhere in the Western world have taken this as a sign of the destruction of our world. According to the Mayas themselves this is pure nonsense. There are more baktuns after the 13th – up to number 19. If that day is the last it should happen in 4772, if that is meant to be seen as a domesday prophecy.

So who started this wave of Mayan domesday predictions? It began in 1966 when the scientist Michael Coe, who studied the Mayas, speculated about the long counting and called it Harmagedon, most likely to sell more books. During the cold war between the West and the Soviet Union the fear of a big new world war with nuclear weapons it seemed to be a potential threat. Coe’s ideas spread outside the academic circles and was reinterpreted and exaggerated by the New Age-movement, among others. These ideas have then flourished in films, books etc.

I do not think that today will be the last day on earth in the way we know it. I believe that is pure nonsense. Like so many others though I’m fully aware of the potential threats. Our sun is now in a very active phase, which threatens to destroy or harm satellites and our electricity here on Earth. There is a potential threat of objects from space that will collide with us and destroy our world, like it did for the dinosaurs 60 million years ago…but not now.

The most imminent threat is us, the humans. We destroy the world we live in, we destroy ourselves and each other. In text after text on this blog I deal with different aspects of our human existence and with the importance of finding better ways to deal with our human interaction, and the care for the world we live in. Read for example texts like “Wise like an owl and tremendous like a deer?”, “Learn from history and work for the future”, “The Janus face of every faith”, “A Middle Eastern dilemma with global effects” and others. We need to take care of each other. It’s better to try and love with consideration and care, erotically but not in a rapist-, foul way, to show pity and empathy, have limits, respect and self-respect. That is what we need. This is not the last day on Earth, but we need time for a change.

Anders Moberg, December 21st 2012

Two sides to a coin

There are always two sides to a coin. Take the winter weather for instance. If it’s snow outside the white colour lights up the darkness, the air is cold but frisky and make many people feel that they are alive if they’re dressed in the right warm clothes. They love skeeing, having snow ball fights or just having a stroll enjoying the sights of the landscape clad in white. On the other hand winter, ice and snow is a life taker. It’s dangerous to be out in the cold, amounts of loose snow on mountain hills sometimes create avalanches which rage down the mountain slopes with unfathomable speed and force, destroying everything in its path. Most people who happen to come in its way die. There are snowy blizards which destroy our electricity systems and the chill of snow or treacherous ices also take lots of human and animal lifes.

It’s the same with us humans. We quarrel, have different ideas and values. Our diversity and global extension have made us competative, envious, jealous, resentful, full of spite, mockery and hate against those who do not share our own views, beliefs, gender or lifestyle. On the other hand we’re also helpful, kind and generous. Most of us like being with people who’re like ourselves. People who share the same ideas, convictions or interests and even if we try to be open-minded most of us have our limitations for what’s an acceptable behaviour. When someone transgress those borders we react in one way or the other. To take a few examples from these last days here in Sweden. In Gothenburg some teenage girl or girls at an upper secondary school had put pictures of younger girls, 13-14 years old, on Instagram and calling them 14-year-old sluts. This has provoked a violent outburst outside some schools in Gothenburg with kids throwing stones, a lynch mob-attitude and two or three days of uproar. The schools had to cancel their Christmas term cermonies to deal with the violent outbursts. Those who love the violence and want things to happen and always look for trouble are of course there as well. The kids who had been hanged out on Instagram are rightfully angry, as well as their parents and siblings, but this kind of behaviour with lynch mobs and running riot is neither acceptable. The police has done what they can to prevent the mob from attacking other kids, shop owners etc. The bottomline here is the attitudes on Internet. Many young people as well as adults have a tendency to use Internet as a canal for insults, hanging out people, spreading rumours, creating mischief and pour out hatred of others. Of course we must be able to discuss things on the Internet, and we must be allowed to have different views and perceptions, but if we want the Internet to be a good place it has to be used to create a better world, not the opposite.

In Scanian Höör kids in their early teens this week have tried to get out of trouble. They had been tricked into a club they thought would arrange parties, but it was in reality a sub-group to a criminal Mc-gang. When the kids tried to drop out they were threatened by men who told them they had to pay between 600 and 4000 Swedish kronor. This has made the parents upset and several parents have gone to the police. Four men were arrested, but two of them have been released.The attitudes towards foul play in society has to become more aware.

In Newtown, USA, a young man recently murdered 20 children aged 6 and 7 years old, and 6 women who worked at the school before he killed himself. This has created a shock wave all through the States, and discussions concerning the American right to own guns have been renewed. The tragedy in Newtown and the loss of innocent lifes is the heartbreaking trauma that never will be forgotten. The good side to this coin is the debate and the hope of increased awareness of the violent ideals. In Camden, New Jersey, all in all 1 137 guns and rifles were handed in the past week-end to the Camden gun deposit. The state pays 250 dollars per weapon to decrease the amount of guns in the city.

In Pakistan Shi’ite Muslims are persecuted and killed by sunni Muslims, Christians are also oppressed and murdered or simply rejected in the Pakistani society, and women, as in many places on earth are subjects of rapes and negligence of their human rights.In India a teen age girl was recently raped which has been fiercely debated on the internet. In both Pakistan and India there are good people who do what they can to contribute to a positive change. The democracy attempts in the Middle East are also meant for the better, even though the violence and civil wars are barbaric, as are the oppression and killings of the local people. Israel is also under great pressure from their enemies. All these discussions, attitude changes and attempts to improve things are good when it’s done to make our world a little better. Sadly enough our human hatred and intolerance too often take the upper hand, and that is a destructive, human stupidity that we have to reconsider.We MUST find the good side to the coin of life.

Anders Moberg, December 20th 2012

The Birth of Jesus – When, where and perceptions of purpose

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In the New Testament the birth of Jesus is described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. In Matthew we read that Jesus’ parents Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem in Judea and that wise men “magoi” from the East arrived in Jerusalem, at the court of Herod the Great after having seen signs in the sky that said that a child was born in Israel which would become king. Herod was frightened and started looking for newly born children to have them killed. The magoi found Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to their infant son, Jesus. In Luke we read that shepherds outside Bethlehem got a shock when an angel appeared and said: “Don’t be afraid. Behold. I will give you a message of great joy, which shall be for all people, because today a Saviour has been born, Christ, the Lord, in the city of David. You shall find a newly born child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke: 2: 10-12.

When was Jesus born? Well, the monk Dionysius Exiguus miscalculated it with some years in the 6th century when he gave us our present day counting. King Herod the Great ruled between 37 and 4 BCE. He was both an inventive king who started many building projects, palaces, temples, arenas, cities etc, extended and improved the temple in Jerusalem etc. But he was also very suspicious and cruel. He killed his first wife Mariamne, member of the Hasmonean family, and his own grown-up sons Alexander, Aristobulos and Antipather. The last one just before his own death in 4 BCE. However it’s not proven or even likely that Herod killed infant children in Bethlehem. We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, but most modern scholars believe sometime between 7 and 4 BCE. The story of King Herod the Great, the taxing ordered by Ceasar Augustus, under the surveillance of governor Cyrenius in Syria are mentioned in the Bible. Cyrenius had a taxation in both 6 A.D. and 6 BCE and Herod died in 4 BCE. When it comes to the Bethlehem star what was that? Magoi in Babylon and Persia existed in those days who studied the sky astrologically. Some believe today that what is reffered to in the text is the great conjunction that happens every 794th year when Jupiter, Saturn and stars in the Pisces meet. Three times in 7 BCE these conjunctions were seen from earth. The so called star map of Sippur from Babylon which has been found and is dated to 8 BCE predicts this conjunction. All the same it is doubtful by many if Jesus was born in Bethlehem, some say he was, others disagree.

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was prophesied centuries before by early prophers like Micha and Isaiah that the coming Messiah would come from that place and the House of David. In all texts he is mentioned as Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee, because that is where he grew up. For Jesus’ first followers the date or place of his birth wasn’t very important. That changed long afterwards. The early Christians talked about his resurrection day on the 14th or 15th of Nisan as “dies natalis”, the birth day. It was also said that Jesus was concieved and died on the same day, on the 14th of Nisan /March 25th. Since he was presumed to have been concieved on March 25th the churches later assumed that he had to be born on December 25th. However, we don’t know the date for certain. December 25th, Jesus’ presumed birth day later merged in Rome, in 274 A.D. , with the ancient pagan beliefs of the Mithra/Jupiter cult and “dies natalis Solis invictus”, the birth of the invincible Sun. In the beginning there existed different suggested dates, but Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 A.D. and in Deposito Martyrum folicaliana from 354 A.D. fixed the date to December 25th.

So who was Jesus and did he exist? 2000 years have passed and Jesus as a person, status and message have been under fierce debate and still is. Outside the New Testament the most important source is the Jewish history writer Josephus, who wrote e.g. “Antiquities of the Jews” in 93-94 A.D. He had been fighting in the Jewish war in 70 A.D., surrendered to the Romans and was then seen as a traitor in Jewish eyes. Josephus makes two short references to Jesus and one to John the Baptist. He mentions ca 20 people by the name of Jesus, but only one “Jesus, who was called Christ”. In Book 23, Chapter 9 he tells us that “the brother of Jesus, who was called the Messiah, whose name was James” had been prosecuted and sentenced to death by stoning, probably in 62 A.D.In Book 18, Chapter 3, there’s the so called Testimonium Flavium. This reference to Jesus most scholars realise has been tampered with by later church men, but the text in general seems genuine. Most existing copies are in Greek, but also versions in Arabic have been found. If we take away the obvious inclusions made by later Christian priests this is what Josephus said: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds. And he gained a following both among many Jews and many of Greek origin. He was called the Messiah. And when Pilate at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day”.

Rabbi Robert Wolkoff in Gothenburg once said concerning Jews and Christians : “Jesus’ faith connects us, but the faith in Jesus separates us”. However  Jesus himself was a Jew during his days on Earth, the first desciples were all Jews, and the first Christian or Messianic movement called The Way, started by Jesus’ desciples and Jesus’ earthly half brother James = Jacob were all Jews. So was the first church for a couple of decades before more and more non-Jews became believers. Today there is also a movement of Jews coming to the conviction of that Jesus is and was the Messiah, Yehudim Meshichim and they spread the gospel to other Jews in Israel, to Arabs and co-operate with Christian Palestinians in sharing the Gospel of Yeshu’a ha-Meshiach, Jesus Christ. Today there are about 500 000 Messianic Jews in the world, mostly in the USA, but more than 15 000 of them live in today’s Israel.

The Shroud of Turin, which is said to be Jesus’ burial cloth still is under debate. The marks of the crucified  body is in 3D, in photo negative, and quite mysterious. The scientists said in the 1980’s that it was a Medieval fake, but it was discovered in 1999 that the samples taken for carbon dating were taken from corners that had been woven into the cloth in the 1530’s after a fire, and wasn’t part of the original cloth. The results of later tests though have revealed something astounding. The picture on the cloth exists only on the utmost surface on one of the two sides, the blood on the cloth is real and has penetrated the fabric. Enzymes in the blood suggests that the man has been heavily tortured. Pollen has been found on the cloth, which now is dated to the period 200 BC to 200 AD. The pollen come from various plants and flowers, some only existing outside Jerusalem.  Around the forehead of the man in the cloth the pollen shows evidence of thorn, but not dry thorns like in all pictures of Jesus on the cross, but the crown of thorns has evidently been blooming at the time of the execution. Several signs of flogging, physical wounds, pierced hands and feet, as well blood running from a wound in one of the sides of the man, are clearly visible, The picture on the shroud has mysterious 3D effects even though it’s two dimensional. Evidence of absorbed texts in Aramaic, Greek and Latin in a hand writing from the days of Jesus have been found on the cloth. The text clearly says that this is Jesus of Nazareth. This was for identifying the body for delivering the body back to his family one year later after the burial. Something we know never happened. The mysterious picture in photo negative has baffled the scientists, and according to them it must have been quickly and suddenly scorched into the cloth’s absolute surface by 34 trillion Watt of ultra-violet light! This has happened at the moment of the resurection of Jesus Christ. Yeshu’a ha-Mashiach is resurrected and still alive! Amen!

Anders Moberg, December 19th 2012, upgraded on April 30st 2018.

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Midwinter cermonies of light and kindness – A mix of traditions

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To celebrate the shift between light and darkness in Midwinter is an ancient phenomenon in human history, and has occured for thousands of years in many places on Earth. The most ancient ways of celebrations are long gone and lost in the mist of oblivion and fusions. About 4000 years ago though Arian groups from the area south of the Black Sea and today’s Iran wandered into the Indus valley and northern India to settle. With them they had brought their deities and beliefs. In what’s now Iran and parts of south eastern Turkey the tribes there around 1300 BCE celebrated Midwinter, and the birth of the sun god Mithra. It has in Iranian tradition been called Shab-e Yalda, The Birth Feast. The darkest day of the year had passed, the light returned, spirits of evil were driven out and the tribes prayed to Mithra/Ahura Mazda. Bonfires were lit. Today this Feast has lost its ancient religious aspects and become more a family gathering with gifts and good food. The cult of Mithra continued over the centuries in Anatolia and also ended up in the Roman Empire ca 2000 years ago and merged with a celebration of the farming god Saturn.The Romans also kept their local deities, Di Penates, small creatures who guarded their homes. I’ll return to that later in this text.

Around 280 A.D. a man called Nikolaus was born in Patara (Arsinoë) in what’s now Turkey. He had Christian parents of noble birth. Nikolaus as a person was silent and withdrawn. When he grew up he became a priest and went to Jerusalem where he was for some years. Later he returned to Turkey and became an arch bishop in Myra (Izmir on the west coast), but the power struggle between the old Roman traditions and newer Christian ways intensified. In 284 – 305 the Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximan persecuted, imprisoned and killed Christians. Nikolaus was in jail during these years, but when the next Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity into the new state religion Nikolaus was released. Between May 20th and July 25th 325 A.D. the first concilium was held in Nicaea, where the dogmas and creeds for the newly accepted Christianity were shaped. Nikolaus participated and during the fierce debate he assaulted his Arian opponent Arius who said that God existed before Jesus Christ. I wish here to pinpoint this fact, even though I’m Christian, that this synod contributed to the exclusion of other perceptions, pronounced them heretic, and the way to percieve women, women’s role in society and female sexuality once more in history was oppressed by the synod. One can draw many parallells to things happening in our world today. Nikolaus was nevertheless famous for his kindness and generosity. When his parents died he gave his inheritage to the poor. The most famous story is how he saved three daughters of a man in debt from being sent to a brothel. Three nights in a row Nikolaus went passed their house and threw in sacks of gold so that the man could pay his debts. Nikolaus died in Myra on December 6th 343 A.D. He was canonised and became Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children, sailors and thieves who became remorseful and improved.

Saint Nicholas’ death day, December 6th, became in the Christian countries a period of kindness and merged with the old pagan, non-Christian, traditions and beliefs. Here in Scandinavia during the Viking Era, the ancient Mithra cult from Iran had moved on and developed further 2000 years later according to the Scandinavian climate and beliefs into the Midvinterblot, the Midwinter Blood. The Vikings sacrificed animals and serfs to the gods and drank lots of mead. They too celebrated the turn of the year and were afraid of the evil spirits surrounding them. The Roman belief in Penates, small creatures that protected the farm and harvest had moved up here. Here we called them “tomtar/vättar”, (in English “gnomes” or “brownies”). There were forest gnomes and house gnomes. The house gnome was small, lived in a hole, under a tree or the house. He was often very old, very strong, could make himself invisible, helped the farmers with harvest and protecting the animals in secret. He could also make mischief and one had to keep him in high esteem and respect, give him porridge and other food. If the farmers made him angry, easily done, the gnome would curse him and make the humans’ lifes into a living hell. The Swedish nun Saint Birgitta was irritated of these folklore beliefs and warned the people in 14th century Sweden from honouring and believing in the “tompta gudhi”, (the gnome deities).

In the Christian countries Saint Nicholas continued to be celebrated, and in the Netherlands for example Sinterklaas comes alongside Black Piet, a representative of the Devil to scare the children into obedience. All over Europe Saint Nicholas was celebrated and here in Scandinavia new traditions developed during the 17th to the 19th centuries. During the 19th century in Swedish bourgois homes the one who came with the gifts was the Christmas Ram, not a Brownie, but that would soon change. In 1823 Clement Clarke Moore wrote his poem A Visit from St Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas). That poem would be one of the works that would influence the new ideas of Santa Claus. Here in Sweden the writer Viktor Rydberg would publish his poem Tomten / The Gnome in 1881. It’s about a small farm gnome who watches the late night sky in Midwinter and makes his round on the farm, watching over horses, cows, hens, dog and people. The poem evokes feelings of mystery, cold winter, tradition and deep folklore. Viktor Rydberg gave the task to illustrate this poem to the female artist Jenny Nyström. She would for the coming decades in late 19th and early 20th centuries illustrate many Christmas cards and books which came to influence our present idea of Scandinavian Christmas and Santa Claus. In the 1930’s a Swedish-American helped the Coca Cola company in the USA to illustrate their Christmas campaigns with paintings of Santa Claus, and watching his paintings it’s quite clear for a Swede that he was influenced by the many Christmas pictures that Jenny Nyström made in the beginning of the last century. Today the “modern” cult of Santa Claus has turned into something of it’s own. He lives on the Northpole or in Sápmi, northern Scandinavia, or in Finland. He has serving gnomes that help him producing the Christmas gifts, has a sledge drawn by rein deers and is a nice man dressed in red and has a long white beard, coming in the skies on December 23d or 24th to deliver Christmas gifts to the children.

Even if the many traditions have changed and merged over 4000 years we must never forget the main point. We humans have always needed traditions and a sense of belonging. We have always wanted kindness and goodness, especially in dark times, even if it’s difficult to give it sometimes. But the Christmas has for many been a period when we try to remember the good aspects of being human. That is something that never must fall into oblivion, irrespective of our beliefs, ethnicity or social background.

Anders Moberg, December 18th 2012

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A December intrigue with fatal consequences

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In December 1317 the Swedish king Birger Magnusson invited his two younger brothers, the dukes Erik and Valdemar to a Christmas banquet at Nyköping Castle where he resided for the moment. The three brothers had a long period of power struggle and intrigues behind them. In 1306 the second brother, Erik, had persuaded the youngest to participate in a coûp d’état. They had then invited king Birger, the queen Marta, daughter of the Danish king, and the young prince Magnus to a feast at Håtuna Mansion. There they had taken the king and queen captives, while the prince was helped by a servant to flee to his grandfather, the Danish king. After a while the Royal couple was released, but the king had to after several battles with his brothers give the dukes large parts of the kingdom to rule. They tried to find peace, but the feelings were mutually suspicious.

However, in December 1317 the king and queen had managed to persuade the youngest brother to tell Erik that they were both welcome to a Christmas peace banquet. But it was only part of a deception. The Royalities had together with their councelor and military Commander in Chief Johann Brunkow set a trap for the dukes. When they arrived in Nyköping the dukes were told that they had to let their troups have their night quarters in the city, not at the castle because of the lack of space. They had though been warned beforehand by a knight, but still decided to come. At the banquet everything seemed well on the surface and the food and drink was plenty. Late that night the two dukes went to their beds half naked to get some sleep.

The king assembled his troups and gave Johann Brunkow the order to arrest his brothers. In the middle of the night the troups went to their room and arrested them. Duke Erik put up a fight, but the soldiers were too many. Suddenly king Birger appeared. Then he asked: “Do you remember anything of the Håtuna game? I remember it well”. Then he had his brothers put in the dungeon and let them starve. When the dukes’ men and allies learned about this, armies from different parts of Sweden and Norway put a siege on Nyköping Castle and the king and queen were suddenly surrounded by enemies.

In January 1318 king Birger forced his brothers to sign a final will and testament, which still remains and then threw the large key to their prison into the river outside the castle walls. That key was later found by a boy in the river during the 1800’s and can now be seen at the castle museum. The dukes Erik and Valdemar starved to death soon afterwards, but their allies succeeded in taking the castle. The king had to flee to Denmark, prince Magnus fought on, but were captured during the war. Skirmishes and battles were fought in Sweden and Scania where I live, (then part of East Denmark). Prince Magnus and the king’s councellor Johann Brunkow were both taken prisoners and executed. The detronized king Birger and queen Marta both died in Denmark where they found refuge with Marta’s relatives. The son of duke Erik, also called Magnus, later became the new king of the young Swedish nation. This part of Swedish history is referred to as the “The Nyköping Banquet”.

What can we learn from all this? Well, even today the power struggles create lots of deaths and suffering. I chose this story to give you another example of how envy, hatred, corruption and power fights, (irrespective of time period or country), contribute to making our world insecure and agonizing. These things will continue to happen, and does so all the time in our world even as I write these words. Forming different groups and alliances will always be part of our human nature. Nevertheless I still want us to consider that there also are good and constructive ways of creating alliances and to build bridges in society. This week I will write more about the different Christmas traditions that might remind us of the finer parts of our human nature and also about a good society here in Malmoe that does a marvellous job. Until tomorrow I wish you all the best.

Anders Moberg, December 17th 2012

One week to Christmas

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So, now it’s the third Sunday in Advent and one week to Christmas. Here in Malmoe, southern Sweden the temperatures rose a bit yesterday and the snow began to melt. There’s still snow on the ground, but it’s obvious that it’s a little warmer. The two photos that accompany this text I took two weeks ago on December 2d. ” Find your Malmoe Christmas” the text says, and below this piece you see some of lights that lit up the Gustav Adolf Square that day. I hope that you who read this will get some good days during Christmas, even if I know that many are stressed, some quarrel, drink too much, buy too many and expensive presents or spend the holidays in loneliness. However, we must never forget the thought behind the holidays and these coming days I intend to write more about the combined Christmas traditions. I will this coming week also write more about some dramatic December events in Medieval Swedish history, and about some good, modern integration issues as well.

Christmas is supposed to be about love, affection, kindness and the best things inside of us, and we have to do our best to remember that in humility. Since I live in Sweden it’s often very dark at this time of year and the lights therefore become essential for our well-being, partly to light up the actual darkness around us and improve our sight, but also to light up our inner souls and give us some happiness. The visual contrasts between darkness and lights often create magic and awesome effects when you want to make impressive pictures and I for one often play with these contrasts when I create. I think that there are so many beautiful things in our world and I can see the beauty in both small, ordinary things as well as in more bombastic experiences. We must never forget the good things that make our lifes worth living. Even if our lifes is a constant road of sad and happy events, of small and big conflicts, of misunderstandings, injustices and evil deeds it’s also combined with friendship, love, eroticism, kindness as well as other positive experiences and insights. We must therefore take the positive and good things as our most dominant parts of our lifes as we participate in the roller coaster of life and find constructive paths that lead us onwards. These insights are not new, but valid for every new human generation, and important for our survival. During the Viking era, more than 1000 years ago a poem said:
“Cattle die, kinsmen die, and you will die too. But I know one thing that never dies, the judgment over dead man”. I believe that we all have a responsibility to try and live as good lifes as possible, and do what we can to achieve positive goals. This is also what Christmas should be about. Let us all do our best, even if we’re imperfect.

Anders Moberg, December 16th 2012
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