Christmas Eve in the Country.

7

December 26, 2012 by dairycarrie

This photo is from last year, I forgot to get one this year but it looks the same this year except with a good foot of snow everywhere.

My husband grew up Catholic. However since things were often too busy on the farm to run the kids into Sunday school my husband and his siblings grew up attending Sunday school at the Moravian church just down the road from them. This church is just a few short miles down the road from the farm my husband grew up on and was close enough that the kids could load themselves into a tractor and drive down the road to attend Sunday school. Many of the neighborhood kids attended Sunday school there, regardless of what religion they laid claim too.

Mamre Moravian Church is 153 years old this year. It’s the quintessential country church. Bursting at the seams on Christmas eve with 104 people packing the pews and still no indoor plumbing. Mamre’s regular congregation is small and aging. On any given Sunday you would be hard pressed to find a member whose hands had never milked a cow or who can’t remember when the empty farms along our road were owned by the families who’s name are etched on the stones just to the South of the church. They currently share a pastor with another Moravian church and only hold service every other Sunday and they have a brand new outhouse.

Despite the small church and smaller congregation, like clock work, on Christmas Eve at 7:30pm this little country church has cars lined up and down the road and pews packed with neighbors who for one night become part of the Mamre congregation. Because my husband attended Sunday school at Mamre he has been a part of the Christmas pageant since he can remember. Shepard, Wise man, Joseph, Gabriel… he has pretty much played every part except for Mary. For my husband Christmas would not be Christmas without the pageant at Mamre. Now one might wonder if the church’s congregation is so small and the members aren’t of the age to be producing more pageant actors how it is that a Christmas pageant can still go on. Simple, the neighborhood kids that have always been in the pageant are still in the pageant. The very first Christmas pageant I nearly died laughing watching my husband (then boyfriend) walk down the aisle of the church with a crown 3 sizes to small and a robe that went just past his waist, playing the part of wise man along with his father and another neighbor.

I am so glad I don't ever delete photos....

I am so glad I don’t ever delete photos….

That year Joseph was played by a high school Junior and Mary was home from college. In the years since my first pageant experience the “kids” have started to have kids of their own and now the pageant is mostly performed by kids who haven’t gone on their first date or taken out a mortgage. Even though Christmas Eve at Mamre Church started out as my husband’s tradition, I can’t imagine what Christmas would be without that tiny country church, the people it holds and the reminder of the real reason for the season. Here are some photos from this slice of heaven in a little country church on Christmas eve.

The Moravian star, Advent wreath and Christmas tree in a beautiful church.

The Moravian star, Advent wreath and Christmas tree in a beautiful church.

Even I get in on the action.

Even I get in on the action. The marriage of any member of the neighborhood automatically means that there is another body to be a part of the pageant. 

Lila plays the organ every year.

Lila plays the organ every year.

 

The wise men of the neighborhood. There still aren't enough kids to play all of the parts.

The wise men of the neighborhood. There still aren’t enough kids to play all of the parts.

These shepherds are quite the actors. And of course their flock is made up of Holsteins.

These shepherds are quite the actors. Of course their flock is made up of Holsteins cows instead of sheep. 

Joesph and Mary keep getting younger.

Joesph and Mary keep getting younger. Hubs has been the narrator for several years now.  

 

(There is a little rumble over the baby Jesus at the end of this video)

At the end of the service we all sing Morning Star and Silent Night by candle. One of the most beautiful and moving times I have spent in any church or community.

At the end of the service we all sing Morning Star and Silent Night by candle. One of the most beautiful and moving times I have spent in any church or community.

After church the neighbors host a get together at their home. How can you not feel the Christmas spirit as you walk up their driveway?

After church the neighbors host a get together at their home. How can you not feel the Christmas spirit as you walk up their driveway?

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Christmas Eve in the Country.

  1. Anita Bennett says:

    This is wonderful Carrie!! It wouldn’t be Christmas without the two of you! Thanks so much for being a willing sport!!

  2. Stephany says:

    Merry Christmas Carrie! Sounds like quite a special tradition! This post feels like one I could be reading in the Country magazine! Something about an older country church.. and the Christmas season.. gives everyone a good feeling!

  3. Jennifer says:

    This reminds me of the church I was raised in. Similar size, but there is indoor plumbing. They also sing Silent Night by candlelight to close the Christmas Eve service. I love traditions like that!

  4. Nancy Graff Schultz says:

    Carrie,
    Wonderfull writing. This is always such a special night. A huge thanks to Don and Anita for being the coordinators for this amazing evening.

  5. Carol says:

    Love it! And that video was great….rumble over baby Jesus!!

  6. thanks for this, carrie. It is beautiful, and a tribute to the great love and loving hearts that surround us – if we just take the time to really look. This made my day!

  7. i love this post, Carrie!

    Wyn Vallie was about two, she played a lamb in our Christmas program at church. Her cabbage patch doll was chosen to be Baby Jesus, but I didn’t tell her. During the play, when she saw her baby doll, she yelled, “Momma! Momma! Momma! It’s Blue Baby! Blue Baby, Momma! Momma! Blue Baby’s naked!”

    Then, while all the other kids acted out the rest of the play, the little lamb held Baby Jesus and rocked him, and let him dance on the alter. It was perfect for our little country church.

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