By Sue Seibert
As I look up into the gray winter sky from the desk in my office, I see the skeletal structure of the tree outside my window. How beautiful is a tree without its clothing! Now I can see its form, its anatomy, with all its many large and tiny branches and limbs. A small bunch of mistletoe grows from one of those branches, and the occasional silhouette of a winter robin or a blue jay brings the tree to its winter life. Ah, this is truly my favorite time of year.
I also love the Christmas season. I realize to those purists of Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran tradition, it is Advent, and Christmas carols are not to be sung yet, but I remember my childhood as a Methodist, and I rejoice in the songs of Christmas, even though the twelve days of Christmas don’t arrive until December 25 and don’t depart until January 6.
We were very fortunate to visit St. Barbara’s Church in Thurber last weekend and to celebrate the Christmas season with music and ministry by the Ranger Church of God and a cantata by the First Methodist Church of Gordon, which ended with the congregational singing of carols, Silent Night being sung by candlelight.
I’m sure most of you are aware of the history of Thurber, the former coal mining town which is almost, but not quite, in Palo Pinto County, but if you have not visited there recently, especially for a special event, I certainly encourage you to do so. Under New York Hill, where a wonderful cafe serves up meals of steak, catfish, and the like, the church of St. Barbara, which was established about 1893 when Antonin Wierzowiecki was baptized there, is located along with one of the houses which was a part of the 10,000-resident village in Thurber’s hay day, and two bocce ball courts, a reminder of the Italian population of the once thriving town. If you are interested in discovering more about Thurber online, go to www.thurbertexas.com or contact Leo Bielinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next door to the historical area I just described sits the W. K. Gordon Museum, with lots of exhibits about Thurber and its coal mine and brick manufacture history. To learn more about it, and it’s many and varied activities, go to www.tarleton.edu/gordoncenter/.
But, back to this time of year. Many of our local churches, both in this county and in other counties, are holding live Nativity scenes, a tradition begun by St. Francis of Assisi, and last Thursday we visited Palo Pinto for its annual Frontier Christmas Celebration. You just can’t beat it.
Today we are traveling to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Fort Worth for the yearly Lessons and Carols. What a wonderful way to celebrate God’s Son coming to Earth so that we might be saved from all our sins!
Alleluia! Christ is born!