Mennonite Heritage Village

The Lesser-Known Counterpart of Advent – Love and Anger

by Gary Dyck

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. – Aristotle

The theme for this third week of Advent (Christmas) is love.

However, we don’t always feel loving and sometimes we feel other emotions like anger which can be a counterpart to love. Hopefully, this Village News series from the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) will provide appreciation of these beautiful Advent themes from the bottom up.

Mennonite culture has traditionally downplayed the value of anger. True, when not tempered with love, it can be quite harmful, but it can also reveal what is of worth and bring restoration. Love is not meant to be a cozy warm sentiment like the Danish notion of hygge or German’s gemütlich. Love has room for anger. Anger is not evil unless it has no room for love in return.

It is in the balance of love, anger, and a host of other emotions that we find our well-being. Museum expert and author John H. Falk defines well-being as “a holistic feeling that arises from the integration of a vast array of biological and cultural survival-oriented perceptions.” Society needs museums where they can hear, see, and feel the challenges previous generations have gone through. What were the long-term results of their love and anger? Well-being and love are not about just having good feelings, but knowing how to make use of the good and bad so that we can all thrive.

Righteous rage that has no compassion becomes hatred. Anger needs love to keep it on the right trajectory. Like a maturing child who is starting to feel more than one emotion at once: “I mad at my sister, but I love her too, so I won’t hit.” At the same time, a generous love that has no desire for justice is empty. Love needs anger to keep stirring it to good deeds. Just look at the view of God we get from Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:50,51): “His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.” There is love and anger, and it is good.

Please consider MHV in your year-end giving. We endeavour to be a place of well-being for our community. Besides our operations, we need to complete our Dirk Willems Peace Garden and trail, maintain 30+ heritage buildings and monuments, produce a new exhibit every year, and provide robust programming for all ages. Call, visit our website, or mail in your donation today.

Upcoming Events

  • MHV gift shop and galleries are open Tuesday to Saturday 9am-5pm. A great place to find unique and hard-to-find gifts.
  • Volunteer Appreciation Drop-In, December 8-11 from 2pm-5pm. Everyone who has contributed to the success of Mennonite Heritage Village over the past 12 months, by volunteering their time, sharing their expertise, or assisting with our programs, is invited to stop by the Village Centre to say hello, enjoy some coffee and dainties, and share some stories with staff and other volunteers.
  • Winter Day Camp, January 3-5. Kids ages 6-11 can experience the fun of the Mennonite Heritage Village in winter. Enjoy skating, snow-sculpting, crafts, games, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, and of course plenty of hot chocolate. Cost is $90 for all three days. Contact Robert Goertzen at or 204-326-9661.