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The Fourth King


[As every year for many years, we organize the so-called "living advent calendar" in the courtyard in front of the house. It used to be that every evening from December 1st to 23rd, a group, family, institution held such a small event at a different location within the town of St. Wendel. Since 2020, individual events have been recorded by Christoph Cerovsek from St. Wendel, shaped and uploaded to YouTube at different times. Our event took place on Friday, December 16, 2022 from 6 p.m.; it will be uploaded on Thursday, December 22nd.

The walls that can be seen behind us belong to an old barn from the 1930s that lost its roof several years later - not due to the effects of war. Normally our cars are parked there, today around 40-50 visitors meet here for our lively advent calendar.

Anne and I are standing to the right of our outdoor crib. It is freezing cold, temperatures are below freezing point (Celsius).

The microphone is on the floor immediately in front of both of us. Since we don't have any musical instruments - with the exception of the harmonica, on which I can only play 2 or 3 notes safely - I always sing along a little louder so that the people can orientate themselves on something. In this case, unfortunately, the result is that my voice rises a little too loud above the others. Tina Cerovsek, Christoph's wife, cannot be seen, sings in a choir and therefore always starts the song, usually a bit too high for me. I once sang in a choir, in the tenor voice. That is, I get quite high, but usually not high enough to be able to keep up in Tina's position. That's why I tune in the first song way too low and sometimes change a chord up or down again. You probably know actor Karl Malden in his role in the old western How the West was won, when he accompanies his film daughter Debbie Reynolds to the song "Home in the Meadows" - not pretty, but loud. Well then you know what I mean]

[Roland, 00:30] Does anyone have a watch? Six o'clock.

[I ring the bell and say in our local slang:]
The bells in St. Wendel Cathedral ring more beautifully

Good evening,

[Few answer]
That's the part where you're free to answer.

The hectic part of the day is over, it's getting dark.
We have gathered here to share with some old verses and stories and with some old songs that we sing together,
to find some peace and focus on what's to come next week.
Therefore: Welcome.

[First Song]
We announce to you the dear Advent.
Behold the first candle burning!
We announce to you a holy time,
Make the way ready for the Lord!

|: Rejoice you Christians,
Rejoice very much! The Lord is already near.:|

We say to you the dear Advent. Behold the second candle burning! So take care of each other As also the Lord has done to us.
|: Rejoice you Christians,
Rejoice very much! The Lord is already near.:|

We announce to you the dear Advent.
Behold the third candle burning!
Now wear your goodness bright light
Far into the dark world.

|: Rejoice you Christians,
    Rejoice very much! The Lord is already near.:|

We don't need the fourth stanza until next week.

[Anne greets the visitors in High German]
This year we have a star theme and hopefully each of you got a star. They were made in Ludger Schmitt's workshop, who stands over there. [points flashlight in the direction] and the little story [on a note attached] is called The Star of Bethlehem. This evening we are collecting for the people in the Ahr Valley [a region in Germany north of the Moselle that was hit by a flood disaster last year and, after initially great media interest, quickly fell into oblivion; on this evening a good 200 euros come together in our donation box]

[First Reading]
Words by Margot Kaessmann

At a Christmas service a few years ago, I heard a boy sigh, "Oh man, I already know that story!"

I laughed and said: “You know, you will hear them again every year: on Christmas Eve in church. But you'll hear them differently because you're changing."

That's how it is with Christmas: Every year we hear the news of God's coming to earth differently. But every year we hear them anew:

Because we are changing, because our life and the whole world is changing.

And: we take these words with us and move them in our hearts. We remember them in what we experience and when we hear other stories, and it all ties into a new narrative thread.

That this narrative thread reaches around the world
that we share this story
with sisters and brothers in faith all over the world,
that is important for our identity,
for our Christianity and for our faith.

Now we want to sing the next song with you.

[I blow 2 notes on the harmonica, oh, wrong way round. I turn the instrument and blow again: even worse. So the thing is rotated again, then it fits.]

[First Song]

|: A time has come for us
it brings us great joy. :|
Across the snowy field, we're hiking, we're hiking
through the wide, white world.

|: Brooks and lakes sleep under the ice,
the forest dreams a deep dream. :|
Through the snow that falls softly, we wander, we wander,
through the wide, white world.

[Second Reading]
The story we're going to hear now, in all honesty, I rewrote it a bit.

The story of the three wise men from the east who follow the star is one of the most beautiful Christmas stories. It is about the three kings who followed the star. What hardly anyone knows: there were actually four of them. But why didn't the fourth travel with them, but stayed at home?

This is the story of Jérôme, the fourth king. He lives far south than Egypt - somewhere very far, far below. His kingdom is not big, but it is not small either. His subjects aren't doing badly, so not really well, but well enough. And when the subjects are doing well, the king is doing well too. Jérôme doesn't have much to do, he has plenty of time.

His favorite pastime is astrology. The interpretation of the stars. He knows the stars in their orbits, but has no idea about planets and moons and all the little stuff up there.

One evening he stands on the tower of his castle to look at the stars. Then his gaze falters. What is that — a bright spot on the horizon slowly gliding across the sky.

He immediately calls for his astrologer, who looks just like you would imagine an astrologer to be: an old gentleman with a white beard and white hair. "What is that light?" asks the king, pointing to the horizon.

“O Lord,” says the astrologer, “I was just about to speak to you about it. This is a comet far away from our country. Far north.”

"A comet? So what is that?"

'Comet means 'hairy star', my king. That's what the Greeks call him. This is a star that does not stand still like the others, but moves. He appears for a short time, then disappears again. He consists of a head with a flowing mane, which he sometimes pushes in front of him and sometimes pulls behind him. Therefore "hair star"«

The king only understands the station: "Are you kidding me - a severed head that flies through the air and brings strange lights? Is that all you know about it? And why is he standing up north?”

"My king," replies the astrologer, "comets herald great events, and they are seldom happy. Be glad it is so far from us in the sky.”

The king becomes thoughtful “You must find out what this comet means. I want to know more about it tomorrow«

Hardly anyone sleeps in the palace that night. The king tosses restlessly in bed and the astrologer sits over his books. He leafs through old star charts and discusses with his students. He even recreates a star constellation. Early in the morning he finds a clue in an ancient prophecy.

He immediately rushes to the king and unrolls his star chart in front of him: "Here" - he points with his finger - "a comet comes into the constellation of Saturn. He is far up north, in a distant land. That wondrous light is much better seen there. If my calculations are correct, a great king will soon be born there.”

"A king? Just like I am one and my colleagues left and right and front? A new king? What does he want, what is his plan? I think it would be good to pay a visit to this king.”

Jerome spends the next few days pondering and thinking. Then he sends messengers to his three colleagues in the kingdoms left and right and front. "A new king is born and I will visit him. Are you coming with me?” His colleagues are immediately hooked, drop everything and set off straight away.

Jérôme takes a different approach. Such a great journey needs to be well planned and prepared. First he rides with his entourage to the market. It is located in nearby Maluk and is famous for its goods from all over the world. There the king buys 20 of the very stubborn but extremely persistent mountain camels, as well as 20 yellow camels from Batha, which are resistant to mosquitoes. Oh, and of course 20 of the most expensive white racing camels.

Every day you see him with his entourage at the market. One time he buys 40 pack donkeys, the other time 60 water bags. There are also 200 tent poles and lots of skins for the tents. The women's saddles for the white camels take the longest, they have to be specially made, the craftsmen need a whole month for it.

Every now and then a messenger comes from his colleagues who have already traveled a long way north. "We are seeing the star better and better, standing still over a small town well north of Egypt. We'll be there next week. Hurry up."

Now King Jérôme rides the brakes. Now only the travel clothes for himself and his entourage are missing. But sewing takes time, and many days pass.

On the evening of the penultimate day - that is: many days minus 1 - the astrologer comes to the palace out of breath. My king, he calls, the star is disappearing. The great event is over.”

The king is appalled. All the trouble was for naught. All the preparations, all the shopping for the long journey that he will never make now.

Sadly, he sits down on a bench. In a weary voice he turns to his astrologer:

"Oh, what have I done? I have seen the most important star of my life and I have not followed it. He called me the king and I didn't hear.

For far too long I've thought about it, planned superfluous things and had them done and haven't moved a step forward."

A sad story.
Next year we'll tell you something funnier.

[Third Song]

Carry a light into the world now,
tell everyone: do not be afraid!
God loves you, big and small
Look at the shine of the light.

Carry a light to the children
tell everyone: do not be afraid!
God loves you, big and small
Look at the shine of the light.

Carry a light to the sick
tell everyone: do not be afraid!
God loves you, big and small
Look at the shine of the light.

[Third Reading] [Anne]
I found a nice word from a booklet that goes with the song we just sang, and it also fits in with the times here.

“Give away a star during the Advent season.

You will see, he makes a person shine in his heart."

And we tried to bring that across to you with the stars.

And now we would like to invite you all to mulled wine and cookies and hope that you enjoyed it a bit.

And unfortunately we don't have the Bethlehem light tonight either, it won't be distributed until half past seven.

[The Friedenslicht campaign goes back to the “Licht ins Dunkel” initiative of the Austrian broadcaster ORF. Every year since 1986, a child from Austria has been lighting the light of peace in the grotto of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. On the Saturday before the 3rd Advent, the small flame of hope will be passed on to the international scout delegations in an ecumenical sending out ceremony in Austria. Scouts carry the light from there – to Europe and beyond to many countries around the world. The light of peace is transported by plane from Bethlehem to Vienna. Since 1994, scouts have been bringing it from there to Germany on the 3rd Advent.

The light of peace is a sign of friendship, community and understanding between all peoples. This is especially important in the places where Jesus once lived and taught.

Our "living advent calendar" always takes place fairly late in Advent, so far always after the third Sunday of Advent. That is why many of our visitors took the light of Bethlehem home in a lantern, where it wanders from candle to candle and often burns into the New Year.]

Historische Forschungen · Roland Geiger · Alsfassener Straße 17 · 66606 St. Wendel · Telefon: 0 68 51 / 31 66
E-Mail:  alsfassen(at)  (c)2009

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