Yesterday was Three Kings Day or Dreikönigstag in German (also known as Epiphany), which signals the end of the Christmas season. In Germany, Three Kings Day is celebrated by small groups of children (3-4) dressing as the three kings who visited Jesus as a child. One of them usually carries a staff with a star on it, and they walk door to door. They are called Sternsingers (Star Singers) because they will sing a song when you open your door to them. Then ask for a small donation to a charity and then your house is blessed and an inscription written in chalk over the door.
We ran into a teacher from Jackson's school with 4 children doing this on our street a few days ago but had already left our house to go somewhere, so we were not home to have our house blessed. I had hoped more would come by, but if they did, we must have missed them. Unfortunately, I did not think to take their picture...but to make this easier to visualize, I pulled a picture from online of what it looks like...
These letters are left up over the door to the house all year. We first noticed them while looking at apartments during our visit in early September. The year is divided at the beginning and end of the line (this picture must have been taken in 2011). The * is for the star. The letters have two meanings: they are the initials of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, and also an abbreviation for the Latin words "Christus Mansionem Benedicat" (May Christ bless the house). The crosses (+) represent the protection of Christ. Such a beautiful tradition.
This morning, I got up before Matthew or the kids. Well, not really...the kids were awake, but they got to stay home playing in their room while I made a trip **by myself!** to Knauber, which has become my stand-in for Target. It felt SO freeing.
Although I could wander in Knauber for hours, admiring the trendy dishware and pretending to myself that I could be crafty if only I had the colorful craft supplies laid out on the shelves, perhaps stopping to enjoy espresso and a pastry or sandwich at the full cafe in the center, this morning I needed to pick up a child's birthday present... AND conveniently, today was the day the print I had left for framing a few weeks before was supposed to be ready.
On our first road trip, I found this for 35 euro in the Belgian antique market that we visited and fell in love with it. It's a large, beautifully lettered page from an old Bible. The passage is Matthew 6:26-34, beginning in the middle of verse 26:
"[...] your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not neither do they spin and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven shall he not much more cloth you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying "What shall we eat?" or What shall we drink?" or "Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for you heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefor no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Now it hangs over my new old desk, which I found at a wonderful antik warehouse-style shop called Trödel Safari, which translates to Junk Safari. The little framed picture on the desk is also from Trödel Safari (for 5 euros!) and is a picture from 1904 of Drachenburg (our First Hike). I may need a separate post just on Trödel Safari. It's one of those great treasure houses of junk where you can find absolute gems for dirt cheap.
We also hung the painting we bought of the red roofs of Prague. The prior tenants were kind enough to leave a nail over the fireplace and Prague fits just perfectly over it. I love the bright colors! And also love surrounding ourselves with art that has meaning and memories for us.