Guten Morgan und Fröhliche Weihnachten!
The song playing on my site today is called The Gift by Aselin Debison. If you have not heard this song, I encourage you to listen to it!
The very first time I heard this song I hated it… the very sound of it coming on the radio made me run for the dial… and then one day I sat and listened to the words and I just dissolved into tears. It is such a beautiful painting of our relationship with God… Of how we come to Him with nothing worthy to give, except for our willing heart and He makes our small offering into something that will bless the world… Of how God gives us an amazing gift in spite of and because of us being unworthy… For me it is the perfect portrayal of the true meaning of this season.
A poor orphan girl named maria
Was walking to market one day
She stopped for a rest by the roadside
Where a bird with a broken wing lay
A few moments passed till she saw it
For it’s feathers were covered with sand
But soon clean and wrapped it was traveling
In the warmth of maria’s small hand
She happily gave her last peso
On a cage made of rushes and twine
She fed it loose corn from the market
And watched it grow stronger with time
Now the christmas eve service was coming
And the church shone with tinsel and light
And all of the townfolks brought presents
To lay by the manger that night
There were diamonds and incense
In packages fit for a king
But for one ragged bird in a small cage
Maria had nothing to bring
She waited till just before midnight
So no one would see her go in
And crying she knelt by the manger
For her gift was unworthy of him
Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness
Maria, what brings you to me
If the bird in the cage is your offering
Open the door and let me see
Though she trembled, she did as he asked her
And out of the cage the bird flew
Soaring up into the rafters
On a wing that had healed good as new
Just then the midnight bells rang out
And the little bird started to sing
A song that no words could recapture
Whose beauty was fit for a king
Now maria felt blessed just to listen
To that cascade of notes sweet and long
As her offerings was lifted to heaven
By the very first nightingale’s song
This Christmas season finds Ryan and I half a world away from our family, from the traditions we have kept since our childhoods, and from the traditions we forged early on in our marriage. Yet we have been incredibly blessed despite the distance forced upon us.
We find everyday that we have here in Germany is another adventure, another learning experience, and another memory made.
Every small town and every city is decked out like a Christmas village and the smells and sounds are overwhelming.
The streets are crowded with people who smile and wish you a Fröhliche Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas) There are no politically correct expressions here…
Everything is decorated in fresh cut pine boughs so that the scent permeates the air… overladen of course by the scents of mulled spiced wines and fresh donuts and a number of other treats…
Fresh flowers and forced bulbs adorn every corner just begging you to buy them and have a bit of spring in your home for the holidays…
The scents and colors are staggering… I find myself torn about which way to look.
In the square dozens of booths display the wares of local merchants… inviting you to browse what they have to offer and to sample some of the treats they have prepared.
And the people mill about slowly, enjoying the day, talking, laughing, and drinking their mulled wine… no rushing to and fro in this town today!
Sounds of traditional Christmas carols fill the air as the tiniest children ride horses, tigers, swans, and airplanes…
Everywhere you look are families enjoying just being with each other…
And overlooking yet another Christmas market, is the ancient Trier Cathedral… this is why I believe in fairy tales, because here in The Land of Fairy Tales, we are surrounded by them…
This culture is saturated with the Christmas story so that everywhere you go you see something that bears witness to it…
This is a Christmas pyramid (similar to the one I posted a few weeks ago only on a much bigger scale) There is a full nativity spread out over all three levels which spin under the starry night sky…
Never in all my years have I felt the Christmas spirit so heavy in the air… Not the elbow-jarring-fighting-for-the-last-toy kind of spirit, nor the bite-your-bottom-lip-groan-and trash-your-apartment-because-your-boyfriend-bought-you-BestBuy (Have you guys seen that hideous commercial?) kind either, but the simple beauty of being with the people you love and spending the time to sit and talk with each other over a hot drink and a meal kind of spirit.
It really is lovely and I find the traditions beautiful…
And so we wish you a Fröhliche Weihnachten! From our home to yours…
Know that there is someone halfway across the globe that is thinking of you today and wishing you a Christmas filled with family, with fun, with faith, with good food, good memories and peace…
Ryan and Courtney