Friday, December 24, 2010

Das Christkind Kommt (The Christ Child Comes)

In Germany, Santa Claus or St. Nicholas arrives every December 6, bearing gifts. Therefore, German kids wait for the Christkind (Christ Child) to bring the gifts for Christmas.

What is the Christkind? It is a Christmas figure developed by church reformer Martin Luther in the 16th century; in anticipation of the coming of Christ. Christkind or Christ child, is a representation of Jesus as a child. Traditions have expanded the Christkind role in certain parts of Germany, Austria, and other countries nearby. Today, towns may elect a teen girl to play the Christ child for several weeks during the Christmas season; dressed as a winged blonde teenage girl, usually bedecked in white and gold. The angelic symbol has been particularly revived in place like Nuremburg, Germany, since the end of World War II. One tradition that dates back centuries is the christkindlesmarkt, a Christmas market held in various towns each year.

My girls cannot wait for das Christkind to come. Because our tradition is: the Christmas tree would not have any gifts under it until the Christmas Eve, after das Christkind has visited us.

What we do is go to church together. After the mass, the girls and their Papa would go for a stroll while I am allowed to go home to help the Christ Child to carry the gifts and place them under the Christmas tree. The girls would be too excited and would usually beg to go home with me; but we tell them the surprise would be better -- which always is!

Oh, just last night IC came to me in bed and whispered, 'Mama, please tell das Christkind to write my name on the gifts in block letters so I could read them clearly.' Sweet girl!

But before the girls would be allowed to open their gifts; there would be singing and poems especially prepared for das Christkind; and then Christmas dinner would be served. I am sure today would be a great day!


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