Nyaars-Morgen - historie, fornyelse og fællesskab


  • Marie Louise Nyegaard




Nyaars-Morgen - historie, fornyelse og fællesskab

[New Year ’s Morning - history, renewal and community]

By Marie Louise Nyegaard

In the year 1824 Grundtvig’s work was focused on allowing the past to speak into the present. To him man is an essential part of the stream of history and a being that must be capable of understanding the past in order to understand himself. According to Grundtvig there was a crucial connection between history and Christianity. This point is most clearly shown with his use of a mirror as a metaphor for both the meeting of the past and the present and the heavenly and the earthly.

Moreover, Christianity reflects itself in history as the sky reflects itself in the ocean. As well, historical events can be seen as types and antitypes for one another and together provide a method of understanding the heavenly.

Grundtvig’s calling to lead the North to the right awareness on history in order to enable a spiritual renewal is illustrated in his poem Nyaars-Morgen (New Year's Morning) from 1824. The poem is strongly characterised by Grundtvig’s self-symbolism where he projects himself as a poet, prophet and as a revivalist of the Nordic national character under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The ten songs of the poem show the road to the dawn of renewal as a stepwise development towards a common and national awareness of the Nordic past. The plot is shaped as a voyage into the poet’s own past and as a voyage into the Nordic heritage and history where the relationship between mythology, history and Christianity is questioned. Because Nordic mythology points to a glorious Christian future for the North, it turns out to be of crucial importance to Grundtvig's typological

awareness of history.

Within the poem a universe of most detailed imagery unfolds in which metaphors connect to both one another and to other metaphors in Grundtvig's works. To Grundtvig this imagery is a way for man to speak of the spiritual and become connected to his thoughts about the “Living Word", which is fundamentally an echo of the Word of Creation and at the same time the expression of the concept that man is made in the image of God.

Nyaars-Morgen reveals a connection between Grundtvig's view on history, his role as a viewer and a poet, and the word as the embodiment of the Spirit. He views the stream of history as a force that will always connect people and the word as a meeting point for God and man. These thoughts are fundamental to Grundtvig's churchly views from 1825 where he emphasised the spoken creed as the foundation of the church rather than the written Bible. The churchly view was therefore a well-prepared continuation of thoughts that Grundtvig had already unfolded through his poetry in the years before.





Nyegaard, M. L. (2007). Nyaars-Morgen - historie, fornyelse og fællesskab. Grundtvig-Studier, 58(1), 258–273. https://doi.org/10.7146/grs.v58i1.16522