I hope all my US readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Next Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. This was always a special time when I lived in Germany. The first candle on the Advent wreath was lit, a colourful plate of cookies: spekulatius, gingerbread and cinammon stars together with a few red apples and clementines, was placed on the coffee table which itself was decked out in an Advent tablecloth. In church we sang "Wir sagen Euch an, den ersten Advent" which, roughly translated, means "we announce the first of Advent to you." The weather was sometimes mild and wet and other times cold and frosty but the light from the first candle always made you look forward to the blaze of light from the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
I just loved it all. Every town had a Weihnachtsmarkt, ours held their market on the first Sunday of Advent. Local clubs, the Scouts and the churches all had stalls selling mulled wine, gluehwein, and you met up with people you hadn't seen for a while as you walked around admiring the various handicrafts on display. You could get all your Christmas decorations here if you so wished. My feet always felt like blocks of ice and my face would be frozen but it was all part of that magical feeling. The mulled wine tasted twice as good in the cold evening air!
Frankfurt, of course, has several markets, starting from 25th November right up until 22nd December. The old part of the city, the Roemberberg looks like something out of a fairytale, my children just loved coming here. I will arrive just too late to visit this year, unfortunately.
Despite the best attempts of the commercial world to sell Christmas on the back of food and alcohol, I think that for many people it still has not lost all its magic. What we need to do in this troubled old world of ours is to stand still and take in the candlelight and be a child again on Christmas Eve.
I wish all my readers a peaceful, joyful Adventszeit