Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
Today was very busy but quite interesting as I had the honor of helping lead the German NATO contingent Christmas service and afterward to attend their Christmas party, complete with a visit from Saint Nikolas for the children. It was an honor to have the chance to serve my German friends. I feel so at home with Germans and tonight was another chance to serve them as a Chaplain which I have had the chance to do a number of times when stationed or visiting in Germany.
It was a wonderful experience. I was able to meet some really nice people and take part in a truly German Christmas service. There was music and the singing of Christmas carols and hymns, prayers, the reading of the Christmas story form the Gospel of Luke and I led most of the prayers and the liturgy, and preached the sermon, of course all in German. For many in attendance this was a surprise, they are not used to Americans who can do this. Truthfully I did work hard on the Sherman and quoted from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther in the sermon, while also relating it to the reality of the struggle with faith, even using the images of Charlie Brown’s Christmas and the speech of Linus in it for illustration. But the heart of the sermon focused on how God comes to us from the manger to the Cross in the incarnation of Jesus Christ and why that is so important.
After the service I was complimented by many people including one officer who commented on my truly German accent when preaching. I guess that immersion in another culture and language is the best way to learn it. I still need to do some hard work to be really fluent, especially with my terrible speech comprehension in crowed venues, but it is good to know that I don’t sound like an American when speaking German.
But any way, I might go back and retranslate my sermon back into English and post some of it here in the coming days.
So until tomorrow,