We baked Chocolate Chip Christmas cookies (an unfamiliar rarity in Germany) with some of the youth who live close to our home. It was a cold Friday night when we decided to go Christmas Caroling (another unfamiliar rarity) to bring joy and homemade cookies to the villagers.Walking through the streets, singing old favorite Christmas tunes, a little variety was added to our English renditions. To inculturate on a deeper level, we sang some songs in German; such as, O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) and Stille Nacht (Silent Night).
This experience blessed me greatly as we gently entered into the lives of the villagers at a new level. The people here don’t spend much time outside. Thus, it is very hard to build relationships and meet new people. As we knocked on doors, we saw new faces. We met toddlers, children, young adults, middle aged parents, and grandparents. The people with whom we are called to be missionary to became so much more tangible to me. I saw stunned faces light up when they learned that we were singing because we love them, not because we wanted to make a profit.
It was especially a gift for me to look into the eyes of the elderly. I remember looking up to the second floor of one home, when an older man stood at his window, just smiling as we sang to him from below. Another touching instance was when we saw the lights in a house turn off. Melanie suggested that we still ring the doorbell. Thus, we did. An elderly woman came to the door. She seemed a bit surprised at our presence. As we sang, she seemed very touched and had the most beautiful grin on her face. She even let us sing her a second song as she stood there, enjoying the music.
So many times I get caught up in the fear of communicating with the villagers because I don’t speak very much German, as I am primarily focusing on learning Dutch and have only lived in the country for two months. However, this experience showed me that language is not a barrier to loving the villagers. All I did that night was smile as I looked into the eyes of the people standing in their doorways. All they did was smile back at me. When we arrived home that night, I felt so filled up with love. This experience taught me that love is not bound by barriers unless we put them there. God is so much bigger. God is so much greater. God is here and praised be the name of Jesus for this great gift!
May the blessings of the Infant Jesus fill you up this Season. Merry Christmas!