Light of the World

First Presbyterian Church Christmas Eve worship service.

Our new family Christmas Eve tradition is going to our church’s candlelight worship service. This tradition is only a few years old for us but it has legs for many years to come. It’s one of my most favorite things to do.

I was always a Campbellite, but I haven’t always been a Presbyterian. This new tradition is helping me feel more like a Presbyterian in general and not just a member of a Presbyterian church. Two things during our worship service make it so very special. One is the music from Jeff, Honi and Ladd. These three people have truly been blessed with the gift of music. They are bluegrass musicians, have beautiful voices and can play any instrument with strings. Tonight Jeff played the mandolin, Ladd played the guitar and Honi played the piano and stand-up bass. The music brought tears to my eyes.

The second thing that makes our worship service so special is the candlelight part of the service. The lights in the sanctuary are turned off, then a flame is passed from person to person until everyone in the audience has a lit candle, which represents Jesus as the light of the world.

It’s a new tradition that I am embracing and truly enjoying and looking forward to many more candlelit Christmas Eves.

Jdubs with his candle.

Over the River and Through the Woods…

…to Grandma’s house we go

One of our family traditions is literally that song. Every year we head “down to the river” for our family Christmas gathering with my mother’s people. I live in rural Texas, and this is an hour out into the bush from where I live. It’s remote, really remote. Your cell phone won’t work and you had better have plenty of gas in your car in case you get caught down there when the river rises during a storm because you will have to take “the back way” out, which adds an extra hour to the trip.

“The River” is in Shackelford** County on the Brazos River. We drive until the pavement ends, then keep driving and driving and driving. This area is very much a part of the Frontier History of Texas. Some of the land was once a Comanche Indian reservation. It also had a civil war era medical station on it. We’ve seen all manner of skittish wildlife like mountain lions and bald eagles.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that most of Texas and the western U.S. were like this. You really are in the middle of nowhere.

We actually go through the woods before we cross the river.
Over the river ... This is Daws Crossing on the Brazos.
Comanche Indian Reserve.
This is Grandma's house.
No rare beasts today, just cattle and deer.
Beautiful sunset. Thank you handy iPhone camera.