During Advent one year, I traveled with my mom and sibs to Germany for the annual Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market). It was a feast of lights, music and shopping. While the big city markets are a planned tourist destination, many of the places we visited were smaller towns and inns where the welcome was sincere and the food amazing!
Among the places we saw was the Erzgebirgskreis district, home to many wood carvers and artisans of all kinds. (If you own a nutcracker or a “smoker”, they probably came from this part of Germany). We saw homes across the valley decorated with lights as we entered Seiffen. Even the smallest home had lights in the window. The market was almost garishly decorated in lights and tinsel, but this quiet scene was the one that was etched in my memories.
We were the travelers, happening on this scene. We were the visitors, crashing the party. It occurred to me that so much of what we see and experience in this life, we are the tourists, the visitors, the strangers, the travelers.
But we do not travel alone.
And when people thirst, when those poor souls with parched tongues
look in vain for something to drink,
I, the Eternal, the God of Israel, won’t leave them to suffer. I will respond
By making the hard, brown hills sparkle with streams of fresh water
and causing valleys to come alive with springs.
I will see that gentle pools wait on the desert floor for the weary traveler,
and great fountains bubble up from dry ground;
In the desert, I will plant cedars, woody acacias,
myrtles, and olive trees.
I will establish great cypresses to flourish in the desert places,
plant oaks and pine trees side by side.
Isaiah 41:17-19 The Voice