“CHRISTMAS IN GELNHAUSEN”

 

Gelnhausen's Church. Deutschland. Gelnhausen is the city of Barberousse near Frankfurt

                                                                             Gelnhausen, Germany

Each Christmas I remember a very special time when I and four of my fellow musicians played Christmas music for the Gelnhausen area people.  We were in the Army band and decided to play Christmas carols on Christmas Eve.

I was necessary to get permission from our post commander officer, the Burgomeister (mayor) of Gelnhausen, and the priest of the church where we would play.  We had heard that when the bells rang in one of the churches it could be heard for 20 miles throughout the valley.  So, we decided that would be a great idea.  The bell tower at the church was quite a challenge.  It was necessary to climb a narrow spiral staircase to reach the top.  As we ascended the stairs, the space became smaller and smaller.  It became so tight the bass horn player had to take the bell off his horn.  But we made it.

When we reach the top of the bell tower, it was quite breezy.  It was a beautiful looking down the valley covered with snow.  We played Christmas music for about thirty minutes and then loaded in our jeep and drove out to the residential areas of town.

The church tower was awesome, but as we stopped in the different neighborhoods and began to play, the families came outside to stand on their porches and listen to the music.  Their applause was great and some of the families brought bottles of wine to us.  One family invited us in to their home for coffee and cognac.  We all sat around their dining table, shared our coffee and cognac with them, and their children showed us all of their Christmas presents.  They made us feel a part of their family and it was greatly appreciated because we were away from our families on this Christmas Eve.

That is why I have fond memories of this Christmas Eve in Germany.

We were blessed that Christmas Eve because we gave our musical talent to others.  I am sure they felt blessed, but the warmth they returned to us was the real blessing.  Even today this experience reminds me I am blessed more in giving than in receiving.  That is what Christmas is really all about.  Such a blessing God gave each of us with His Son…Jesus Christ.  So, this Christmas give the gift of love and prepare for a real blessing…because God  is Love.

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