Here’s a little known secret about me…….I’m a Scrooge.  Don’t tell anyone.
Christmas is already upon us again, and consequently begins my yearly struggle with the pressure to deal with all the STUFF and perceived expecations that seem to tag along with the season. There are parties to be attended, goodies to be baked, throngs to be fought for more STUFF,….and by the end I’m so tired I struggle even with smiling……..I should be ashamed…..
I wish Christmas could be about CLOSING all the stores, and the parties, and the cards, and the stuff and instead, all of us, individually, bowing at the sight of a humble manger of all things, being awed at angels singing near a stable.  I for one know exactly what a stable smells like and looks like and is filled with.  We should be amazed that God…GOD…….THE…GOD…….was willing…..to enter our stinky, smelly world, on our level, for no other reason than LOVE itself.
 Nugget of wisdom:  If we allow the evil one to steal our joy, HE WILL!!!  Every time!!!!
So today, I’m letting the world know that I’m fighting the joy bandit with both barrels this year!!!!!!!!  To further this effort, I thought I’d give you photo evidence……….
If there is one word that encompasses Christmas in Germany……it is JOY!!!  There are Christmas Markets galore, large and small, with lights and handcrafted wares and incredible food and hot mulled wine (nothing warms the being like a cup of Gluhwein)!!  Of course all of these events are outside and on this night (pictures below) it was 26 degrees…..Fahrenheit……I’m sharing some photos of our first Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) of 2010 in Dudeldorf.  Dudeldorf, for my history buffs out there, was made ‘famous’ by Gen. Patton deciding to bring tanks through the city arches.  Look closely to see the scratches in the stone from Allied tanks…….
This was a handmade Creche ready for your own nativity scene figurines.  Isn’t it incredible?
Father Christmas himself……
This really is chestnuts roasting on an open fire………..
Then the next day the fam headed off for the Annual Griswold  Allen Family Christmas tree hunt…..Just to give you a little history….We have tromped through and over and around mountains, in knee-high snow in various states in our great Union…..just to find that perfect tree….The kids know the drill, they’ve done it all their lives…And now, even in Germany…….the story continues……
Luckily, just up the road is a Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas tree) Farm.  The weather is what we call Eifel Sunny!!  It gets light outside…..that’s about it….and that’s only from about 8:30 to 4:30…..
The mist somehow just blankets it all…..leaving a peacefulness that is breathtaking……

 

The torch was passed in many ways this year.  David did the cutting with Dad tag teaming.

 

Someone besides the mama took pictures…….
The BEST part, they didn’t need us at all to tote it out!! How awesome is that?
Isn’t that what we as parents strive for? Working ourselves out of a job?
THIS is Joy!!!!!