Monday, December 23, 2013

Veselé Vánoce

I love Prague at Christmas. All the decorations and the lights and the Christmas markets. Not to mention the roasted almonds covered in sugar.

But what I hate about Prague at Christmas is the darkness. The shortest day of the year falls in December. The days leading up to it are quite depressing. There's nothing quite like getting up for work while it's dark, making your way to school while it's dark, and watching the street lights finally turn off from inside your classroom as you prepare for the day. Only, to then watch the sun set as your get ready for the next day and walk home from school in the dark. Only to realize that it's only 5 pm, and you have a whole night of darkness ahead of you. And when there is daylight, that doesn't necessarily mean there will be sun. Often, the skies are cloudy and gray. No vitamin D here. It's dark, gray, and depressing.

This year for our Christmas concert, my fourth graders memorized several of the verses prophesying about the birth of Christ. Every morning for about a month before hand, we would practice the verses. Every morning for that month leading up to the shortest days of the year, I heard my children proclaiming:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
(Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 NIV)

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light." No matter how dark it gets here, the light of the world has come. Even though the days may be short and the dark of night be long, the Light has dawned. That baby in a manger. Who is no longer a baby in a manger. That man on a cross, dead in a grave, is dead no more. The Light has dawned and He lives still. And that once more reminds me why I'm here, to show the Light to those around me who are still walking in darkness. So while I hate the darkness, I have also grown in a small way fond of it, as it serves as a reminder to me of the spiritual darkness of the country in which I live.

So, Merry Christmas. Veselé Vánoce. And remember that the Light has come.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Things You See on a Walk

This weekend, we had our first snow of the winter. It looked so pretty out, that I was inspired to go for a walk. During my walk I came across two different (peaceful) protests (one was blocking the sidewalk with no way around it, so I had to maneuver my way through it), a man standing on an invisible box, and men dressed as Native Americans playing South American style music. It brought to mind some of the other things I have come across on my walks through Prague that have made me smile. So, without further ado, here is a compilation of pictures I have taken over the past couple years while walking through Prague.