Let Heaven And Nature Sing

Would it be blasphemy to say that a good bottle of Riesling is a perfect expression of the harmony between heaven and nature?  I guess that depends entirely on your perspective.  Personally, although I’m much more of a red wine person, I am finding the Alsatian white wines to be pretty heavenly.

Some of you would surely prefer this old crêche in the Strasbourg cathedral, although I have my doubts about the natural correctness of an elephant in the manger.

Although I’m no expert on crêches, being noncroyante, a non-believer from the get-go, I personally loved this homey little one we saw yesterday in a restaurant in Germany.  The nature part looks better to me, and I’ll leave it to you to decide on the heavenly harmony part.

As far as nature goes, this big tree looks right at home amidst the typical Alsatian architecture,

although on a drizzly Christmas Eve morn I have to say that this twinkling bright blue tree hit the heavenly high note.

We’ve spent the day wandering through the Christmas markets and department stores, in the best tradition of last-minute shopping, a tradition which I’m here to testify is alive and well in France.  People didn’t seem grumpy or stressed out though, not even when I arrived at the bakery this morning at a little after 8:00 only to find that I was the 24th person in line outside the shop, not to mention the dozen or so people already inside, each of us there to lay claim to the most beautiful bûche de Noël possible for tomorrow’s dessert.  A shopgirl was walking up and down the line of people waiting in the drizzle, offering little cups of coffee, which I thought was an especially nice touch.

Now, at 6:00 p.m., the air is full of the endless chiming of the cathedral bells, signaling the closing of the shops and the end to the commercial part of Christmas.  Later tonight, after what I’m hoping will be a really festive restaurant dinner, non-believers though we may be, we’ll try to squeeze into the midnight Mass at the cathedral.  “Be here at 11:00 sharp” the church concierge told me conspiratorially, “by 11:15 the cathedral will be completely full.”

Afterwards, although there’s no snow, we’ll wander sleepily past the little town of Bethlehem, which just happens to be right outside our door.

And so I wish you all a silent night, a holiday full of love and joy, and I hope you sing as much as possible, whether with heaven or nature, making your own sweet music with whatever choir suits your fancy.

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8 Comments on “Let Heaven And Nature Sing”

  1. Barbara Jacquin Says:

    Strasbourg is ever so beautiful and really reflects the spirit of the season for believers and nonbelievers as well. I went several years ago but I enjoyed having my memories refreshed. And my appetite whetted! Have fun!
    Barbara

  2. zuleme Says:

    We received an internet order for my husband’s video camera baseplates from Paris this morning. So we celebrate the growth of a brand new business that we have high hopes for.
    Hoping of course, it will allow us to visit France and Sweden and Ireland in the future!
    Merry Christmas to both of you from the Frozen North of New Hampshire where we are getting the skis out.

  3. Eden Says:

    I confess I am not a big fan of the reisling grape even when the wine is crisp & dry rather than sticky & sweet, but I do adore other Alsatian whites such as Pinot Gris/Tokay and especially after seeing your photos hope to visit the region myself one of these days…
    I hope you & Shel are having wonderful holidays and that the new year brings you health & happiness!

  4. Debra Lane Says:

    Happy Holidays Abra and Shel!

  5. Lori Says:

    As usual, you paint a beautiful picture of x-mas in Strasbourg with your pictures and writing. Merry xan-mas and thanks for the many gifts you provide to your readers.

  6. Della Says:

    Looks amazing! I love to read about your adventures. The nativity scene is sweet. My MIL has 7 or 8 around her house – all different…maybe I’ll take a pic :P
    Have a great day.oxox

  7. Wolfgang Says:

    Merry Christmas,
    Happy Holidays,

    I just love to read your blog as a break away.
    It is worthwhile and witty aswell as thoughtful.
    I would describe it as wonderful contemporary literature.
    By the way try the wines from Sylvie Spielmann, she is in the web, ! f you like Riesling d ´Alsace .
    Sometimes the older ones get for my taste too mineralic and metallic (personal taste.
    There is an touristic wine guide for Alsace on the net which covers them all! I lost it on th last PC crash but will find and add it
    Wolfgang

  8. Ed Ward Says:

    The elephant comes with Balthazar, the king from Ethiop! Or wherever he was supposedly from.

    Strasbourg’s a bit too close to Germany for me right now — still gotta get that out of my system — but I’m so happy I found this blog this year that I’m willing to share your happiness with it. Oh, and drop by Finkstub’l for a meal before you go; you’ll be glad you did!


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