I live in a rural area that is made up of several small communities only a few miles apart. Once large thriving places, they are now reduced to one or two remaining buildings of what once could have been called a village. Depression, recession, and technology can be blamed for their demise. But many 'old' families, including my own, still reside in these by gone little places, and we come together at different times of the year to greet each other and to remember when the world was a simpler, kinder place.
One such gathering is the Old Fashioned Christmas held at the Old Anderson Flat Church. When the community set about to restore and remodel the church, two sisters remembered special Christmas gatherings there and made it their mission to revive the old time Christmas way. Indoor plumbing and a kitchen were added to the building and the first Christmas it was finished, people gathered to celebrate.
It begins with a pot luck dinner. What is it about food that draws people together? Everyone brings their finest, most savory dishes to line the tables. We eat, laugh, catch up on each other's lives, share recipes, and find out all the local news. Then, when we're done, we settle back to watch the program.
It always begins with the play. I live in the bible belt, so if you say “the Play”, it naturally means the nativity story, followed by the joyous songs of Christmas sung mostly by the youth.
Following the play is always a variety of entertainment presented on a purely amateur level. There are puppet shows.
And lots of musical solos. Piano, ukulele, and even the psaltery.
We even have special visitors. This year it was a couple of Elves and even the Grinch stopped by. The children clapped and cheered to make his heart grow larger so even he could enjoy the season.
And then the most important part of all. The Christmas message, given by a young minister who grew up among us. His messaged was simple, yet had such depth and spoke to all of our hearts.
The evening ended with gifts for all of the children, and door prizes for the adults. Memories made to keep in our hearts and treasure, until next year when we will gather again to celebrate an Old Fashioned Christmas.