Today was the big day I have been waiting for--my first German Christmas Market!!! Not only was this my first Christmas market, but also it was right here in Herrnhut, my home.
In Herrnhut, the Christmas market is very special because the whole thing takes place on one single day. So that day, the population is multiplied and the usually quiet streets become packed with vendors and shoulder-to-shoulder shoppers winding their way amidst the crowd.
Although there was no snow, the Christmas spirit has definitely settled on this town. With the beautiful Herrnhuter stars hung above the streets and candles illuminating the windows, the early dark nights just got a little bit brighter.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
So recently I have been able to immerse myself in a little local culture here in Herrnhut. I am über excited about taking opportunities to appreciate the many wonderful traditions of my new home, especially those related to this holiday season of cheer!
Apprenticeship in crafting hand-made Herrnhuter/Moravian stars:
First of all, the usual stars that are manufactured here in Herrnhut have 25 points. (These are beautiful. My family has one and we hung it up last year in Texas during Christmas and LOVED it.) We, however, are jumping straight in to the deep end by making stars with 50 points!! This is a multi-week project, and we are hoping to finish before Christmas :).
I'll let you know how the progress goes. We began the first week by cutting out, folding, and gluing our round base.
Week 2 in star-crafting:
Last week, the fun continued as we moved on from the round bases to the actual points--well, almost. We actually learned how to use the pattern to cut out and crease the paper for the points and prepare the tabs for glue. Most of us only just got started on the cutting and have quite a ways to go yet.
Precision is key because each paper has to fold into a point and have tabs at the bottom for the glue. This was my challenge, I kept tearing the tabs as I was trying to cut them. I would cut out a perfect point and then ruin it in the end after tearing off the glue tabs by accident. I got the hang of it though.
Now I need to finish cutting out all 50 pieces so that next week hopefully I can start the folding and gluing process. We shall see! I am going to be so proud of my very own hand-crafted-by-moi star.
Filen Dank Reinhold unt Barbara!
Monday, November 7, 2011
Night falls early and I sip a cup of tea.
A quiet room, a peaceful heart, a few hours free.
Winter comes surely, though slowly on its way;
A gift of time to write and read, a special hour to pray.
When daylight becomes bashful and is early to retire,
A softer brilliance warms your heart as you sit before a fire.
You must indeed be careful lest sleep comes too early on;
Unless it suits you pleasantly to be up before the dawn.
"The night is long and dreary," is what many would complain,
But if you see it differently, cheerfulness you'll retain;
When others become weary of darkness out their door,
You'll find within your hearth and heart treasure, love, and lore.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Beyond expectation and hope, I arrived in Germany to a welcome of such warmth and love that I could physically feel God smiling. I spent the first almost two weeks with dear friends in the Erzgebirge (the Ore Mountains) before joining my team in Herrnhut on September 13th. I stayed with my friend Katharina and enjoyed some quality time with what I truly feel is my German family. This time was a gift of God to restore my soul in a place of peace and beauty.
My friend and her sister both work during the days, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to spend some quality time with the Lord in the midst of His majestic creation (their house is in a beautiful valley surrounded by national forest. Their family has classical music on much of the time, so I was also inspired to spend a lot of time playing the violin. I also had meals with her parents and went on walks with her mom. These were some of my favorite moments because I got to practice a lot of German, and because I grew even closer to this amazing couple who have so lovingly extended their family to me and drawn me in to feel at home in Deutschland.
This was just one aspect of what made this time so great. I also got to see another favorite family of mine, the Mehner's. I had so much fun visiting the fish farm of my friends' father and received my most unique gift as of yet--a delicous smoked trout to take home and enjoy. I had so much fun with Kristina looking at the sheep and walking all around. I also enjoyed visiting the young adults group and reconnecting with people I have met over the last few years.
The best part was that I did not plan any of this, but the Lord planned it for me. It was a gift from my Father for this specific time of transition in my life, and I am so thankful. Below are a few more pictures of my time in the Erzgebirge.