At the end of Schleiermacher’s Christmas Eve dialogue the guests discuss the meaning of the Christmas story. Josef arrives late and the other guests ask for his opinion. The following translation is by W. Hastie. The Tice translation is far better, but I don’t have a copy with me.
For my part, I cannot today take up with such things at all. To me all forms have become too stiff, and all discoursing too tedious and cold. The unspeakable subject demands and even produces in me an unspeakable joy; in my gladness I can only exult and shout for joy like a child. To me today all men are children; and for that very reason they are only the dearer to me. The solemn wrinkles are for once smoothed away; years and cares do not stand written on the brow; the eye sparkles and lives again; and in them all is the presentiment of a beautiful and gracious existence. To my own delight I have also myself become wholly a child. As a child quenches his childish pain, and suppresses his sighs, and draws in his tears when a childish joy is communicated to him, so to me today the long, deep, imperishable pain of life is soothed as never before. I feel myself at home, and as it were new born in the better world, in which pain and sorrow have no more a meaning nor a place. With glad eye I look upon everything, even upon what wounds us deeply. As Christ had no bride but the Church, no children but his friends, no home but the temple and the world, and yet his heart was full of heavenly love and joy, so do I seem to myself to be also born to strive after things like these. Thus have I roamed around the whole evening, taking everywhere the heartiest interest in all the trifles and amusements I have seen; and I have loved and laughed, and enjoyed it all. It has been one long loving kiss which I have given to the world; and now my enjoyment with you is to be the last impress of the lip. For you know well that to me you are the dearest of all. Come, then, and bring the child above all things, if she is not yet asleep; and let me see your glories; and let us be glad, and sing something pious and joyous.