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Find inner peace and quiet in the fastest place in the world

Hustle and bustle are part of Frankfurt. Nevertheless, one should find one’s inner peace and quiet.

Frankfurt is a hectic city. Everyone is always in a hurry, everything is honking and rushing and whizzing, the walkers wrestle with the cyclists for the little space next to the hell of exhaust fumes, steel and aluminum. The children scramble for plots in the sandboxes of the urban playgrounds like in an allotment garden, even nature seems to be constantly on the move.

A tree has to fall here, a pigeon flutters up there, driven by the announcements from the loudspeaker: “Attention please on platform 5, lunch is not scheduled at table 7 today.”

But complaining enough that if all this doesn’t suit you can move to the back of the valley. Just like my family and me. We enjoy space and cosiness, we are a few months back in most things, but we have our peace and quiet. Only once a year we are drawn back vehemently to the seething Moloch. To the ecumenical Christmas Eve service of the station mission in the main station.

Because between us: Most of the Christmas services with their contemplation, their perfect world, their forever the same songs, with their submarine Christians, who only appear in church once a year, are just boring. Not so the gathering of Protestant and Catholic Christians on platform 5 in the main train station. In the middle.

It starts with the fact that a third of the visitors are not Christians at all. Some are travelers who have to stop for five minutes, others are onlookers who just want to see what kind of crowd this is again. Some wear headscarves. Homeless people join in the celebration, the regular customers of the station mission. It’s great for us villagers: there’s always something to watch outside of the actual church service.

It is also lived ecumenism. Every year it is a festival to watch how the evangelical pastor (before that the pastor) sings or preaches with stoic composure against the smoke from the censer, with only a few tiny tears in her eye.

Speaking of announcements. Of course, announcements are made every few minutes at Frankfurt Central Station. “Attention on platform 5, the ICE Stralsund stops in the wrong order, but not in Göttingen.” After all, Frankfurt is a turnstile, forgive me, dear Christ Child, the puny pun.

But precisely because the Christmas service in the main station is so restless and bustling with life, precisely because Hinz and Kunz are allowed to go there and in the middle, precisely because the sermon has to fight against an announcement from time to time, it is a wonderful celebration. A celebration that shows that we can hold people together against the adversities of life, a gathering that gives us inner peace and quiet for a moment in the most draughty place in the world. Proof that even an institution like the church that seems to have fallen out of date can provide stability and bring different people together.

Incidentally, Jesus also drives the ICE. At least that was the Christmas miracle in Frankfurt in 2018: It happened that a monster from the station mission stole an artfully carved Jesus figure including a crib before the service. In Kassel, the police caught the thief and sent the figure back to the big city by train. And what must say? Jesus’ ICE was only five minutes late, so the figure of the Savior arrived just in time.

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