Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out With The Old And In With The New

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead," - Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)

Here we are at the end of another calendar year; tomorrow will be the first day of 2009! This is the time of year when a lot of people make resolutions about what they would like to accomplish or change in the future. Often people look back on the previous year and see things they are not satisfied with and want to make some positive changes.

The verse from Philippians 3 is a very good verse to start the New Year with. No matter who you are I am sure that there were some things in 2008 that did not work out the way you would have liked them to. For me, 2008 was a very good year in many ways but there were some things from 2008 that I would rather not repeat in 2009!

First, we need to be like Paul and realize that we have not already arrived. Since we are all still human we will make mistakes and we are all still growing, developing, and changing. We should all do like Paul says here and forget about the past and look forward to some new things.

Second, we need to look at the coming year as a new page for us to write some great things on and not a worn out old piece of paper filled with crossed out lines and white out (remember that stuff?). We need to learn from our mistakes and failures but not live in the place of failure. Too many people make a mistake and then don't move past that place because they don't leave the past in the past. Forget about the shortcomings of 2008 and plan on success for 2009.
Even if you had a lot of success last year you can't go very far forward when you are always looking backwards. So start off 2009 right, forget about the past and look toward the future; God has a great plan for you in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here Comes Santa

When I was young I remember being told how Santa Claus would come around to bring presents at Christmas time. Somewhere along the line the story was told that Santa would somehow magically come down the chimney to get the presents into the house. Since we did not have a fireplace with a chimney I was never too sure how that was supposed to happen, but since I always got some presents I did not really care how he got into our house.

Well, that whole idea takes a different turn in Germany. Since so many people live in apartments Santa has no chimneys to work with but he still has a job to do. Although apartments may not have chimneys many do have balconies and that is where someone got the idea for Santa's M.O. here in Germany, take a look at these pictures.

This is one of those things that made me do a double take when I first saw it, Santa climbing over the balcony like a burglar! It was a bit of a shock to me to see these guys hanging off of balconies all over, and while not everyone does it the "balcony Santa" does seem to have his place here in Germany. This is one of those things about living in another country; some things may be the same in principle but different in application.

If you are interested in some more German Christmas type things, last year I posted a blog about German Christmas Markets with some pictures that you can see by following this link - and if you would like some more information about what Christmas is like here in Germany you can go to this website -