Recalling German Village Life in Advent

We lived in a magical German village called Schweindorf during my first Fulbright year. Our children counted down the days until December 25 using Advent calendars. They put a BIG shoe outside their door the evening of December 5 for a visit from Nikolaus on December 6. This poem shares our love to all our family, friends and readers during this Advent season. It is a time to value one another and to share our love.

A time of hope, anticipation.
Crisp air outdoors. Candles,
lights, wreaths abound. Advent
calendars to count down.

Small surprises, sweets
behind the tiny doors.
Shouts of glee at the
prizes in little hands.

Smells of fir boughs,
pinecones, gingerbread
houses, baked goodies.
Traditions and rituals.

My classroom desk in
Germany held wonderment
as I walked in. An Advent
wreath with a lit candle.

Thirty faces watched me
as I reacted in surprise and
expressed thanks to all
the smiling faces.

How different it was this
Fulbright Year of teaching
in Germany. Still years later,
our lives forever changed.

Moonlit walks on snowy
December nights through the
tiny village in Germany.
Outdoor Christmas markets

adorn towns with sights,
smells, sounds of Christmas
music. Rich traditions and
new cultural experiences.

One shoe outside the door
awaiting the visit of Nikolaus
to fill it with candy and fruit.
A revered day – December 6.

The Christ Child visits on
Christmas eve when families
gather to exchange their gifts.
Church services at midnight.

There is much to be said
for sacred family time and
celebrations. Stores closed on
Sundays, holidays. These

days remain in our hearts
and minds to be forever
treasured and shared in
future shared holidays.

We love the old fashioned
Christmas when people
take time to value one another
and share their love.


This entry was posted in candles, Christ Child, Fulbright Year, gingerbread houses, Nikolaus and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Recalling German Village Life in Advent

  1. Peter Klopp says:

    Indeed, all these Advent and Christmas customs you describe so wondrously in your post today are deeply anchored and cherished n my heart. Many of these customs my wife and I passed on to our children here in Canada. Many thanks and Christmas greetings! Ich wünsche dir und deiner Familie eine Frohe und Gesegnete Weihnachtszeit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely, Mary Ann. ❤ Christmas love and blessings, my friend. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Clare Pooley says:

    Such a beautiful poem, Mary Ann! I love all these Advent traditions and the gentle build-up to Christmas Eve and then the celebrations at Midnight Mass and on Christmas Day itself. We have Advent calendars and candles and my daughter and I make an Advent Crown with four candles for the four Sundays before Christmas. Your memories of the time you spent in Germany are so wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clare, your comment is truly appreciated. Those memories of our years in Germany remain for a lifetime. Our lives were forever changed during both Fulbright years teaching. Our children attended German public schools and became fluent in the language. I love those Advent calendars and the Crown you have with the four candles. We light ours at church as well as at home. This year, we have opted to sing at 7 PM church service since there is a need for voices. The regular choir sings at Midnight, but it is too much with company on the way. I am happy you liked my poem too. Sometimes it is the best way for me to communicate. Word play! May you have a blessed Advent journey with your lit candles. Those traditions are so important! “”__””

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Arno Bode,Cologne,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann,
    faszinierend ,wie Du den Weihnachtsglanz und die Erinnerungen aus Deinem Deutschlandaufenthalt mit Deinen Kindern liebevoll beschrieben hast.In jedem Deiner Sätze spiegen sich auch meine Weihnachtserinnerungen wieder.Ich schätze diese Zeit in der Nächstenliebe und Verständnis wieder Bedeutung hat.Du,liebe Mary Ann,hattest das Privileg auch andere Weihnachtsabläufe mit Deinen Kindern als die amerikanischen Gegebenheiten kennen zu lernen und in guter Erinnerung zu behalten.
    Dir liebe Mary Ann,Russell ,und Deinen lieben Kindern wünschen wir eine schöne Weihnachtszeit und ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest.
    Alles Liebe und Gute,
    Euere Lilly und Euer Arno

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lieber Arno,
      Nochmals vielen Dank für einen so aussagekräftigen Kommentar zu Weihnachten in Deutschland. Das Leben in vollen Zügen zu leben bedeutet, im Moment zu leben und zu schätzen, was wir haben und wo wir sind. Wir sind in den USA, in Deutschland und anderswo verstreut und erinnern uns an unsere Zeit sowie an Traditionen und Feste. Ein Blick in die funkelnden Augen der Vorfreude von Kindern und sogar Erwachsenen spiegelt deren Seelen und Gefühle wider.

      Wir freuen uns über Deine Wünsche für ein frohes und gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest und wünschen Dir und Deiner Lilly dasselbe. Gedanken und Gebete für eine gesegnete Adventszeit.
      Liebe Grüße
      Euere Mary Ann, Euer Russell, et al “”__””

      Dear Arno,
      Thank you once again for such a meaningful comment about Christmas in Germany. Living life to the fullest means living in the moment and appreciating what we have and where we are. Even scattered around the United States, Germany, and elsewhere, we remember our times as well as traditions and celebrations. Looking into twinkling eyes of anticipation of children and even adults reflects their very souls and feelings.

      We appreciate your wishes for a Merry and Blessed Christmas and wish the same for you and Lilly. Thoughts and prayers for a blessed Advent season too.
      Best wishes
      Your Mary Ann, your Russell, et al


  5. Annika Perry says:

    Mary Ann, the warmth of your time in Germany in this poem has brought light and joy to me on this stormy day! What wonderful memories, kindness and love! I was always fascinated with the celebrations on 5th December! Your final stanza sums up how I feel about Christmas time:

    ‘We love the old fashioned
    Christmas when people
    take time to value one another
    and share their love.’

    May it be just so!

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, my friend! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annika-many thanks for such a heartwarming comment about Christmas time in Germany. Those of us who have been lucky enough to experience the culture, traditions, language and people of Germany return with wonderful memories. May you and yours experience the joyous season with many memories of your own. Thank you once again. Peace and joy. oxox

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do miss Christmas time in Germany. Being stationed in Bavaria, it was almost like living at the North Pole. Snow, trees (even if they weren’t decorated, they were still awesome), and the Kringle markets. If I live to be a thousand, I’ll never forget walking through the market in Nuremberg, with a glass of warm gluwhen and the snow flakes falling into it and the church bells ringing.

    That’s magic to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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