Saturday, December 1, 2018


Old Santa Rosa Chapel Cambria
November 30, 3018

    Suddenly it is December. So out of context in this profane and destructive time. There has been so little motivation to bow to the manger and the "Prince of Peace." Our psyches have been in combat, armed with anger, despair, and disbelief. But Christmas whispers, it is coming.
     And so in winter's dark chill we climb the hill, to the Chapel, to enter a portal, to go home, to Christmas, again.
   It was in the calm of the candle light, as Molly Pasutti with the voice of an angel, from the back of the chapel illumined only by candle began with O Come, O Come Emmanuel. As she paced forward she opened something in time. My eyes moistened. Our hearts stirred in unison. 
    Somewhere as Eric William's guitar and Jill Poulos' Celtic Harp wove into the voices of Wayne Attoe and Steve Dowling  in Oh Come Let Us Adore Him, I was drawn into a timeless flow where my boyhood and those of the century and half of Christmases in the Chapel and those of Dickens, and nights where Angels sang and shepherds quaked and nights of watching and waiting, for ever, seemed to meet, quietly, peacefully, blissfully. 
     I was home. 
     Judith Larmore's annual reflection further wrapped the gift. Yes you can go home, she said, though it will be different, it can provide different memories, and give you a new appreciation for your cherished deep memories.
      She shared how she returned to her Bluffton Indiana home, a different place than her childhood. Buildings gone, boarded, a beautiful bank now a smoke shop, the 5 and dime a failing dollar tree. It was especially poignant as I know that town well, it was my mother's home.
     In Judith's telling I was home again, with my mom and with all my Christmases past. 
     Christmas is like that, a kind of current in the alchemy of our lives that never goes away and never ends, and waits for us to enter it again. 
     As I have written in this space before, Lana says the Concert in the Chapel is her Christmas delight. 
     The sweet music and tender sentiment was precisely the magic this old boy needed.
     Selections from Suite No. 3 by J.S. Bach, John Williams Some Where In My Memory, Leroy Anderson's Jazz Pizzicato and Jazz Legato, Praise for Christmas, Sleigh Ride,  all performed by the marvelous string quartet filled us with even more magic. Brynn Albanese 1st Violin, Bill Alpert 2nd Violin, Drew Van Duren Cello, Peter Jandula-Hudson Viola. 
     Eric Williams vocal and Mandolin, Molly Pasutti Vocal and Brynn Albanese Violin brought extraordinary life to A Down Home Christmas Medly. Then, selections from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Winter.  It was stunning.
      We all joined our voices for Hark The Herald Angels Sing and Joy to the World. And Bruce Black did his annual recitation of "T'was The Night Before Christmas." 
      To the refrains of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, we left the historic old Chapel on the hill and descended into the world again, but we were filled with a new hope, an anticipation of light. Just like it has always been we dwell in a broken, frightened, hurting and needful world, a world awaiting an advent. So it was in 2018, but we left with Christmas in our hearts. We had been home.

     See you down the trail.     


  1. Tonight was our night and our first time. We sat in the third row with Patti and Steve. I agree with everything you said. I was surprised and delighted in how Christ centered the performance was. All to the glory of God. Amen