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Friday, December 7, 2012

Heavenly Peace

Rummaging through my memories this past week, I uncovered some peace and perspective, a remembrance tucked away the Christmas of 2004. Here's my story:

Stars peered down to watch us stand among a group of bundled up strangers in the crisp, cold darkness. As we waited, bits of conversation and clouds of white escaped our lips. The frantic pace of all that comes with Christmas suddenly seemed far away here at Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm.* How many years did I determine to somehow simplify the holidays? Tradition’s strong tug and the fear of disappointing my family put miles on my Reeboks, piles of bowls and cookie sheets in the sink, and lists in my dreams. I physically felt the pressure, and even coming here for this “nice family event” became one more thing to do.

My husband squeezed my mittened hand, and our little daughter smiled up at me as a costumed guide led us to a blazing outdoor fire. We sat on rough log benches and listened to him recount bits of local German history. The fire snapped and leaped. I began to warm up to the idea of sharing this time together. The peacefulness of the place seeped into my heart, and the tension slipped out into the night.

Our tour took us inside log cabins to simpler celebrations in various time periods. We visited a one room school house where we sang carols with our stranger-friends. And yes, the pathway even led to the barn. Here, among the farm animals, musicians played the old Christmas hymns on a guitar, violin, and autoharp. Interspersed with the sweet melodies, the familiar Old and New Testament Scriptures whispered God’s beautiful story of hope for mankind. Tears blurred my eyes as my heart reached for each word. Somehow, standing in the clear winter chill enveloped only in the wonder of a miracle, the holiday season came back into proper focus. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior . . . Emmanuel . . . God with us” (Luke 2:11; Matthew 1:23). The lump in my throat could not stop the prayer from my soul - a prayer of confession, of thanksgiving, of praise for His lavish love and grace.
As we walked back along the path lit with white paper bag lanterns and gratefully sipped hot cider, I savored this heavenly peace. Back home the pile of packages still waited to be wrapped, the cookies still needed frosting, and events still filled up too many boxes on the calendar. Yet it all faded into the background. The image of redemption stood clearly in the forefront. God used the simplicity of the past to give perspective to the present. “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

*Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm
Old Time Christmas 2012 
Saturday & Sunday, December 8th and 9th
Public tours - 3:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. with continuous tours every 15 minutes
Reservations not needed. The last tour starts at 7:15 p.m.

Group Tours (12 or more) by reservation only, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

All photos from Quiet Valley Website

1 comment:

  1. What great timing for this post! We had a long conversation about our focus this Christmas just last night. And whether we travel to Quiet Valley or not I will have been there. Your description of it has me hearing the crackling fire and smelling that hot cider...Pretty sure those are cinnamon sticks garnishing the top...