Der Weihnachtsgottesdienst

Tonight, we had the opportunity to attend a German Christmas service at Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, IL.

I took the children to a German Good Friday service this year, and that was an experience–very meaningful and somber. But there’s something about a Christmas service in German that makes you wonder if you’re actually in Heaven. The liturgy, although German, was familiar, even to the children. Even the sermon wasn’t impossible to follow, (although I did find the printed prayers, other than “Das Vaterunser,” more difficult to understand). And the hymns! All the standards you would expect: “Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen,” “Von Himmel hoch,” Müde bin ich,” and, of course, “Stille Nacht.”

Following the service, there was even an opportunity for some good, old-fashioned gemütlichkeit in the church fellowship hall, where they had some delicious homemade cookies. It was a great night, and I’m so thankful we had the chance to go, and that the children got a taste of Christmas in Germany!

Karfreitag

I had the opportunity to take the children at a German Good Friday service at Holy Cross, Wartburg, this morning.

It’s a beautiful old church. From what I was able to gather while there, the congregation is 170 years old, and the stone tower is almost 100–that’s some major American Lutheran history!

It was a wonderful experience. I’ve somehow managed to never make it to a German service before, even though I’ve always wanted to. I really enjoyed being able to worship in the language of my grandparents and great-grandparents, and I discovered that after all these years, my high school German stuck with me enough that I was able to (mostly) follow the service.

I was also impressed with how Turkey was able to follow along. That’s one of the beautiful things about the liturgy–if you know it in one language, you can figure out what’s going on, even in a foreign language. The rest of my children weren’t as interested in following the service, they just wanted to watch and listen. And it was quite something to hear all of those voices singing in German!

The part of the service that really choked me up (I knew there would be something!) was the Benediction. Not really sure why, but I really enjoyed hearing something so familiar and comforting in the language of my ancestors:

“Der Herr segne dich und behüte dich.
Der Herr erleuchte sein Angesicht über dich und sei dir gnädig,
Der Herr erhebe sein Angesicht auf dich und gebe dir Frieden.”