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The first — and, who knows, perhaps the only — post of the New Year.

Gemütlichkeit could be my favorite word in the German language, just as “saudade” is in Portuguese. The German word means “a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer”, which is something devoutly to be wished these days. But with more than a little hesitation.

I’m reminded of the admonition that the goal of Christianity is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. I wonder if the Germans have a word for gemütlichkeit’s opposite.

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