Journal

Klopfelsingen–Caroling in Oberammergau

In Oberammergau, the Alpine Village in which I set Saving Amelie, the Thursday before Christmas is known as Klopfelsingen–when children and adults go caroling from house to house.  A longstanding Alpine tradition, Klopfelsingen is a pre-Christmas parallel to Sternsingen, or Star singers, in January.

Klopfelsingen the Thursday Before Christmas

Klopfelsingen the Thursday Before Christmas

The carols sung before Christmas focus on Advent as a time of preparation, and on the importance of charity.

Christmas carols, whether sung during worship services at church, with children visiting a nursing home, in clusters  walking through the frosty night from house to house, or at home, warm with family and friends, are a longstanding tradition in my life, too.

Children caroling

My favorite carol, since I was fourteen, is “O, Holy Night.”  So full of wonder and deeply reverent!  I remember for my fourteenth birthday (which  falls during Advent), my Uncle Wilbur, a D.J. at the time, promised to play it for me on the radio if he could work it into the schedule.  I remember rushing home from school, waiting eagerly by my transistor radio for what seemed hours.  Finally, with no ostentation, those notes and words poured through my handheld box!  What a wonder!  What a birthday gift!

The carols of Christmas grow ever more dear to me, and I’m delighted when others share their favorites.  My grandmother’s favorite carol was “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”  My mother’s favorite carol is “Mary, Did You Know?”  My daughter’s favorite carol is “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I’m eager to learn my granddaughter’s favorite as she grows.

I often wonder what speaks to people in the words of hymns–those from Christmas or any other time.

What is your favorite carol?  What makes it special for you?

Praying you’ll be blessed with all the music of this Holy Season,

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13 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    Great post! My favorite carol is Hark the Herald Angels Sing because of the words and its jubilant proclamation!

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is a wonderful carol, Rachel–so full of reverence and joy! Singing well-loved carols is like revisiting dear friends. Merry Christmas!

  • Wonderful blog, Cathy. The last week I’ve been playing The Young Messiah a re-do of Handel’s Messiah by contemporary Christian artists. I think my favorite carol is, “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” The lyrics “And ransom captive Israel . . .” still choke me up. Merry Christmas!

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      I LOVE that hymn, Terri. The words, the haunting melody–it’s like a secret refrain that blesses and blesses. I understand why those words would choke you up–so precious and alive. We’re all captive and in need of ransom–thank Him, praise Him, for doing and being all that we need! God’s blessings for you!

  • Gloria Delk says:

    “O Holy Night” has long been my favorite Christmas Carol though as I get older, many others grow more meaningful. Love your description of the lovely customs of Oberammergau. After reading “Saving Amelie”, I would love to visit there during Christmas!

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      Gloria, I remember you and Aunt Margaret singing “O Holy Night” as Grandma played the piano. Such lovely, precious Christmas memories!

      I would love to walk with you into Austria’s Stille Nacht Kapelle in Oberndorf, where the first singing of “Silent Night” is commemorated. I my mind, I can see your eyes light and the joy on your face, dear Sister! God bless you as you sing these wonderful carols this Christmas Season!

  • Joyce says:

    Just finished Promise Me This. As I read – engrossed – I found much suspense and vital philosophies and tears. Have already enjoyed Saving Amelie, Cathy. Thank you very much for all of yours, I shall continue with you for a long time! Blessings.

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed and found blessings in Promise Me This and Saving Amelie, Joyce. That gives me great joy and encouragement as I write.

      God’s blessings for you today!

  • Joyce McClelland says:

    I’ve been deeply moved by Saving Amelie, which I have just finished. I could barely read it at times – such fear for the beloved characters. I’ve often wondered if we professing Christians will have to face the horrors of the characters in your beautiful/horrible book! My God save us from repeating history. I’ll be searching out your new books. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with me!

  • Sybil Brumley says:

    Your books have been such an inspiration to me. Is there a new one in the wings?

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      Dear Sybil,
      I’m so sorry I did not see your comment until now. Yes, I have a new book releasing January 1, 2018. It is another WWII book, this one set in England. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
      God bless,
      Cathy Gohlke

  • Alice A Pontius says:

    I’ve just read “Secrets she Kept”, and found it so inspiring. I grew up in the 40’s and we had neighbors a church had sponsored from Germany after the war. My mother corresponded with them for years at Christmas. I just learned that their son, who was a small boy then, is now the pastor of First Lutheran Church in Bostom. Several years ago, I learned that his sister has written a book on their experiences and was speaking back in our home town. I wasn’t able to go, but I wnt to get in touch with the pastor, her brother, and see if we might meet again!
    God bless you as you share how God works through us no matter what we’re experiencing–if we cling to Him. Thank you for using your talent for story-telling in such a beautiful way.

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      Thank you, Alice, for your very encouraging message. I’m delighted you’ve read “Secrets She Kept,” and that it has been an inspiration for you.
      The story you mention from your family’s and town’s history is fascinating. If you learn the name of the book the sister has written I would love to know about it.
      You are so right–clinging to our Lord and Savior makes all the difference in this world. He is not stopped or hampered by the cruel machinations of humankind. What joy to serve Him!
      God bless you,
      Cathy Gohlke

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