The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Walk With Me Christmas Morning

It has become a Christmas morning tradition, among us and a few good friends, to walk up the mountain behind the shrine to the stable high up over the valley. Although everyone is invited to come and join us, there are usually only six or seven of us brave souls willing to brave the dark and the cold (and occasionally the wind and the ice). It was hard to drag ourselves out of bed this Christmas morning. We had been at Midnight Mass, where Joe had assisted on the altar and I had sung with the choir and played the lap-harp. Then, once back home, we had put all the gifts under the trees and I had filled the stockings. We hadn't gone to bed until after two, and now at six a.m. we were up and driving to the shrine in the dark and the cold.

Once we had left the car, it was a tricky walk up to the chapel; the eastern sky was barely starting to get light and we hadn't brought a flashlight. But we worked our way up by the spotlight reflecting off the angel statue. Not a bad way to be led!

We were the first ones to arrive at the chapel, but the others were close behind. We were six altogether this morning. It was still dark when we started up the path behind the chapel that led up the mountain to the stable. The Christmas lights on the roof of the stable led us upward. Somehow it seems that the mountain gets higher every year!

Once at the stable Joe led us in a short prayer, and we sang "Joy to the World". There is something about being high up on the mountain when the sun isn't even close to rising, singing to the Christ Child. Elsewhere in the valley far below us, everyone is still sleeping perhaps, or rising to open the gifts under the tree. But up on this mountain, in the dark and cold and stillness, I find the true heart of Christmas. Coming up this mountain in the barest of morning light means more to me than any other facet of the season; this is what matters, and it doesn't feel like Christmas unless I've gone up the mountain. I've had to miss this hike several times because I had to work on Chrismas morning, and it is definitely not the same. No present in the world could possibly fill my heart and soul as much as this does.

We don't stay up at the stable for long. It's cold out, and families and celebrations are waiting for us back down in the valley. It's starting to get brighter now; the mountains are beginning to come alive. There are definitely more lights on now in the valley below us; Santa has been to Southeast Arizona once again.

Once more down at the chapel, the light is getting brighter in the east. The sky shines through the chapel windows, and it is easy to see where we are walking now. We wish each other a Blessed Christmas, and we all go on our separate ways.

Joe and I walk back down to the car. We are both tired still, and later in the day we will both go find a quiet, comfy place to take a nap. But now we are filled with that unearthly peace, the peace that Christmas is meant to bring.


Anonymous Rachel said...

I can totally see how it would be hard to drag yourself out of bed, but I can also see how it's absolutely worth it. And I bet that nap later in the day is one of the best of the year after such a meaningful early-morning excursion.

8:22 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Merry Christmas Pat!

Your photos are filled with love and peace and beauty...(and oh, how I wish I could have heard you play the lap-harp)...

5:46 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

What a beautiful walk, Pat. Thanks for sharing.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Roxie said...

Thank you for sharing that. It was a mitzvah - a blessing - a gift. You opened a quiet place in my heart.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

What a beautiful way to spend the early Christmas morning!

8:23 AM  
Blogger margene said...

Ah yes, a perfect way to celebrate Christmas.

9:43 AM  
Blogger JennyRaye said...

What a beautiful morning.....and a wonderful Christmas morning tradition.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Abigail 1870 pearl said...

I agree that it is a wonderful tradition. Thank you for sharing that with us.

The pic are beautiful. What a beautiful morning to celebrate His arrivial so many years ago.

I wish I could have been there with you:D

Oh, it snowed on our side of the state yesterday. Did you get any rain?

9:24 AM  
Blogger knittyref said...

What an absolutely wonderful way to start Christmas Day. We make a trek like that on Easter, and you're right, it just puts the whole day in perfect perspective.

12:34 PM  
Blogger JulieLoves2Knit said...

What a wonderful tradition!!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Dipsy D. said...

Lovely photos as usual, and what an amazing tradition!
Have a very Happy New Year!

2:06 AM  

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