Sunday, December 5, 2010

Impressions from the 36th German Songfest At Our Savior's Lutheran Church

Christmas is all about tradition. Germans in the Old and New World love traditions. So today I am sharing with you some impressions from the the 36th German Songfest hosted by our church family each year in early December. Our family has attended Our Savior's Lutheran Church for 8 years. In fact, it was this celebration, in part, that brought me to this church. Over a 100 people of German heritage come from far and near each year to eat German Kuchen, listen to German music, and sing Christmas carols in the German language.

Going to the songfest is a bittersweet event for me. It's encouraging to me, as a modern day German immigrant, to find that even after living here for many generations, people still celebrate and cherish their German roots.

Yet being there, makes me miss Germany as intensely as ever. It's almost as if this little taste of what used to be, makes me yearn for the real thing: The German Christkindl'markets, Lebkuchen, the language, and of course, most of all my family, and the people I have not seen in 5 years. It's hard to believe, but it's been over 5 years since I last went back to Germany.

The cakes made by the old church ladies are as sweet and as good as any German grandma's. But I've never had the heart to tell people at my church that Germans serve Christmas cookies and Christstollen around this time of year...

The little band made up of two accordions and a dulcimer was awesome. What seems missing is the children singing, doing solos on recorders, and reciting poetry, and the standard visit of Saint Nikolaus at such Christmas celebrations in Germany...While the songfest went on, most of the kids had Sunday school. Only a few stragglers, including my kids and the youth group, serving the cake, attended the German fest. Is it mostly a party for old people? A party for the nostalgic? The oldest person was 95.

This year our church had a speaker who came dressed up as Martin Luther. Quoting from Luther sermons, he warned us about the dangers of gluttony - eating and drinking too much around this time of year. Ah, some lessons though hundreds of years past - never get old!

Don't get me wrong! I love my little family, and I really appreciate my American church family. I find the rituals comforting and soothing to the soul. But with each year that passes, I also realize the things I have lost. Is that how this tradition got started maybe? As a way to remember things lost.

Such is the plight of the German immigrant old and new. So I keep saving my pennies in the hope that maybe next year I'll be able to celebrate Christmas in Germany once more.


mini said...

Wir waren gestern beim Weichnachtsbasar der Deutschen Schule. Es war alles "wirklich richtig Deutsch". Ich war ganz erstaunt, wie anders alle gekleidet waren etc. Auch ich wurde ganz nostalgisch. Ich war das letzte Mal vor etwas ueber drei Jahren in Deutschland. Ausserdem hat mich alles so an meine Schulzeit erinnert ... Wir hatten daraufhin ein ganz Deutsches Wochenende mit Lebkuchen und Deutschem Essen. Unsere Kinder hatten einige Lebensmittel zum ersten Mal ... Das fuehlt sich irgendwie komisch an.

Einen schoenen zweiten Advent.

Charlotte said...

How sad to read this,maybe you could begin a new/old tradition by baking Lebkuchen etc., and bring back the German traditions?
I, being half German,(other half Scottish) and have lived in Australia for 45 yrs! still love to keep up my Mother's traditions. I love Advent calendars, Advent wreath, baking German cookies and Lebkuchenhaus, also passing on to grandchildren to leave their shoe out on Dec 5th for St. Nicholas and always open gifts the night of the 24th!!