Chaplains: Enjoying the holidays in Germany

2019 Stuttgart Christmas Market photos by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

By Ch. (Capt.) Brady Frederick
52d Signal Battalion

I, like many of you, have spent the holiday season in a few places very different from the snow and mountains of my youth.

I think of the Decembers spent in the Middle East, where a white Christmas was never in the forecast. I spent a couple of Decembers in the Gulf of Mexico waiting for large lizards to cross the road, because they had the right of way and often held up traffic. Southern Texas, while much closer to my home, still lacked the sledding opportunities of my childhood.

Now I live in Germany, a land full of pine trees, snow covered hills, and Christmas markets. Of all the places I’ve lived in the past ten years, Germany resembles home the most. I enjoy taking my kids sledding and making large snowmen. I appreciate the familiarity Germany brings to this season for me, but I learned atmosphere does not change what makes this time of year special.

This season brings constant reminders of what matters in life. Symbols of faith, family and love for others surround us. We don’t need to be in a familiar place for this season to root us in what really matters.

I invite you to approach this holiday by connecting with the deeper meaning. When you see a decoration, say a quick prayer for family, peace on earth and your connection to God. Attend a worship service and send a European gift to loved ones back home. Extend patience and grace to those stressed or upset this year.

Allow the spirit of the season to take hold, even though your surroundings may be far different from what is familiar.