Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe & beyond...join me!

Friday, December 27, 2013

advent and a vending machine - part III

 “Love is what’s in the room with you – if you stop opening presents and listen.” –Bobby (7)

In the days leading up to Christmas and continuing into the New Year, we have been gathering at work parties, house parties, church services and concerts, and as is tradition in Germany, on the streets. The Christmas Market – a beautiful, romantic, filled-with-light experience, happening in every small and large town; over-done, well-done…and medium rare.

Under angel’s wings…

or shooting stars…

advent is community; shepherds travelling towards a star, a family gathering around a table laden with a celebratory feast, co-workers pushing silly gifts from one to another and back again, neighbours shovelling your sidewalk, a choir singing in a senior’s home, wanna-be hockey stars (or models) skating on a frozen pond, or a fragile family trying to comfort each other in a stable on a cold, dark night. Our community is everyone around us, whether we know their names or not, and what better time than now to get to know each other.

Hear the magic of community in sounds: church bells, a child asking for the hundredth time ‘why’, a loved-one’s story that you’ve heard for the first or tenth time, a stranger’s name, an angel choir.

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important gift we give each other is our attention.” -Rachel Naomi Remen

“A joyful home is one in which people feel seen and appreciated. This year I’m going to give thanks every chance I get for that special group of folks who keep loving me and seeing me.” –Brené Brown

Feel the power of believing in your community: ride a carousal high into the sky, take a walk through a field and know the breath of life lies below the layered snow in blades of grass and hidden bulbs.

Or go out among throngs of people, celebrate being in that moment together with strangers and friends. Believe in the kindness of each other’s smiles, handshakes and hugs. Point at impressively built cathedrals or 4 storey, lit-up trees and believe in the impossible. Even Martin Luther, in 1545 talked about his children receiving presents from the magical Christkindl on Christmas Eve. Believe like a child.

Let us create community through food, like church ladies have been doing for hundreds of years. I highly recommend going simple: share a sweet, powder-sugared baumstriezel or a reibedatschi or a schokokissen (chocolate pillow), because frankly they are just too huge to eat alone. 

At the oldest Christmas market in Germany, referenced by nuns as early as 1530, the Nürnberg Christkindlmarkt invites the kid in every adult to break free: try heaping piles of marzipan potatoes, book-sized gingerbread rocking horses or chocolate tools, screws and bolts for the bob-the-builder or great guy you know…

…then follow with candle-making.

 And if you find yourself with unexpected guests arriving from next door, the next town or Hamburg, head to your nearest butcher’s wurst-o-mat, insert a two-euro, press ‘steak’ once, twice or thrice and bring home this evening’s dinner – that’s what I’ll do!

“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the meaning of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses." -Taylor Caldwell


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