The Christmas Markets, also known as “Christkindlmarkt” are a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. They portray the culture of each individual region of Europe. Janet and my favourite were the markets held in the Bavarian and Tyrolean Regions.
Janet and I loved coming to Europe for the Christmas Markets. I don’t know how many years we came; however, I know we both loved doing it. Some times we came with tour groups. Other times we came by ourselves. This year I told Janelle I want to go to the Christmas Markets and she said I will go with you. We decided this year to experience the markets of the Tyrolean region as Janelle has not seen these before. We are here and it is wonderful. However, we can’t do this trip without ending in Bavarian and visiting our friends in Oberammergau.
I stopped at the Erb Street Mennonite Cemetery before I came to Europe and visited Janet’s grave. I told her, “well Janet, Janelle and I are flying to Munich today to visit the Christmas Markets.” As I drove away I heard her say “Have Fun and enjoy your daughter.” The pictures show we are fulfilling Janet’s words of encouragement.
The first Christmas Market we visited was in Innsbruck, along the swift flowing Inn River. Jacob Huter is attributed with the founding of the Hutterite movement. He was martyred on the Maria-Theresien-Straße in Innsbruck. Today, his commemorative plaque was hidden behind a market vendor selling Bratwurst but we still managed to duck behind it and read the plaque.
On Friday, at Empire Public School, they held a Remembrance Day assembly. My Grandson Matthew wrote and read his poem “Brave knights in Shining Armor.” On Thursday evening Matthew and Miriam were at my home for supper. Matthew gave me the poem to read and we talked about it. He said “I am personifying the earth.”
I am very touched by his understanding and his compassion.
MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) has pins which say “To remember is to work for peace.” Matthew, at age 10, has already captured this message in his soul. This Remembrance Day let’s all work to make our world a kinder, more gentle place to live. We do this by loving and forgiving our neighbours.
Please join Matthew and I as we live his poem, “But for now I still pray…For now peace”
Brave knights in Shining Armor
by Matthew T. Martin
At the beginning I was flattered, but now it hurts.
For so many screams and so many knights in shining armor.
Thump they land right on my face,
Blood stains everywhere.
My scars, my struggles,
I pray and pray that it will end.
I have seen lots of civilizations go,
But for now I still pray
For now peace
This century will be my last
If this keeps up
For now I close my eyes
And Say Good Bye…bye…bye…
Every year Janet and I would look forward to the first weekend in November when we would attend the Annual MEDA Convention. It is the occasion when Business Leaders gather to worship, hear Keynote speakers ,attend workshops and nurture one another. This year I invited Phil Baker, the president of Learning For Humanity to join me.
At The Thursday night Plenary session Wally Kroeker spoke on, “Girders of Faith: Hope that Lasts.” He reminded us that MEDA is an acronym for Mennonite Economic Business Associates. We have a Anabaptist view of what it means to be Christian. He is grateful to MEDA for serving as a spiritual /professional home for transforming integration of faith, business and economic develop. He told stories helping us to understand how lives are being transformed in the more than 60 countries he traveled visiting MEDA work over the last 32 years.
Wally reminded us that we are Anabaptist Christians. He has observed as he has traveled to more than 60 countries visiting our programs that we put into practice Jesus teaching that we call the Golden Rule” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12 in our work all around the world.
He continued, “I learned a new insight recently that this teaching is not unique to The Christian faith. The Jews have a similar teaching in their writings , so does the Muslim faith in the Koran, as do the Hindu and the Buddhist. Not how would the world change if all of these Faiths would put this teaching into practice?” A powerful message moment for reflection.
Yesterday at the Plenary Lunch, “Building Bridges to New Lives for Refugees” we were challenged by the Panel members. You may want to follow this link to read about Peace by Chocolate. Tareq Hadhad, a Syrian refugee, shared his story and how he and his family are giving back in Nova Scotia by providing work at their chocolate Factory.
Tonight we look forward to hearing Dr. Samantha Nutt speak about “Justice, not Charity.” Her work has benefited hundreds of thousands of war-affected children.