Have a blessed new year! May God’s light go with us through uncertain times and lead us as it led the three wise men to the star.
There is a beautiful, old German hymn which I would like to share, a hymn which we sing at the end of the Christmas music week on Hohensolms, Germany, every year:
Ein Jahr ist nun vergangen, / das du uns hast geschenkt
Ein neues angefangen, / durch deinen Rat gelenkt.
Jetzt liegt bei dir alleine / was uns bedrückt und reute
Was uns entzückt und freute, / lass nichts vergeblich sein.
Herr, öffne deine Hände, / gib uns das täglich Brot.
Die Schuld du von uns wende / und steh uns bei im Tod.
Du bist es, der erhält. / In Krankheit, Krieg und Nöten
Wollest du zu uns treten, / gib Frieden in der Welt.
Und wie der Stern die Weisen / in längst vergang‘ner Zeit
Getrieben hat zu reisen / geb‘ uns dein Wort Geleit.
Vollende unsern Lauf, / sein Schein uns zu dir führe
Und tu uns dann die Türe / zur Weihnachtsfreude auf
It is a joy celebrating Christmas in St. Finian’s, Dublin: We do it in the traditional German way on Christmas Eve, 24th December. First service: with nativity play by the children which was beautiful, see picture. Second service: with a lot of music (this year: Pieces from Johann Kuhnau’s Cantata “Fröhlich soll mein Herze springen”), because that was what the angels did: singing. On 25th December the morning service is in English, with music as well (thanks be to Yvonne and Werner). The German tradition has a second Christmas Day on 26th December, In Dublin we celebrate a “forest Christmas” on that day, with a walk and hymns and hot chocolate and a camp fire.
I have to reveal, that the second part of “my” Christmas takes place in Germany: Since my childhood I’m attending a Christmas music week from 27th to 31st December on the old castle Hohensolms in Germany. A short week indeed, but full with choir music and fellowship and Christmas joy. This was my second year as part of the leadership team. Pic shows the knight’s hall of this beautiful castle.
The weekends of Advent are always busy for the Lutheran Pastor in Ireland. Services in German language all over the country are bringing a sort of traditional German Christmas to the people: the old, well-known songs, the sermon, the German Advent wreath, the special Christmas cookies. – The pictures were taken in Tralee between the services in Limerick and Killorglin: Artificial snow (well, more or less soap…) and a very cold wind on the little Fenit island close to Tralee, birthplace of Saint Brendan.
Same procedure as every year: Christmas (Advent) Bazaar in St. Kilian’s German School: Our’s is the half of the gym. Books, Cloths, Bric-a-brac, handcraft, toys, advent wreaths are for sale and a huge coffee-and-cake-and-sandwich-bar invites people having a rest and a chat. There are at least three aims: Bringing people together, giving all the stuff a new home instead of putting it into the bin, and fundraising money for the Lutheran Church in Ireland. THANK YOU all who worked for the Bazaar and to those who just came!