I have included my whole Stonebridge Newsletter for Christmas 2009 for you here:
Kenneth L. Pierpont
Blessed Christmas Stonebridge Friends;
Blessed Christmas to You. To all of you who faithfully read and enjoy, forward, and re-post the Stonebridge Newsletter—may you have a peaceful and blessed Christmastime. I hope you will take time to be quiet and consider the very heart of Christmas—that Jesus came into the word-God in the flesh-to save us from our sins and give us the gift of eternal life.
My Gift to You. My writing is my free gift-my labor of love to Christ and to all of you. If you search around on my site here, you will find dozens of Christmas stories, including one written by my Dad in 1964 when he spent Christmas in Vietnam. It is called “Four More for Christmas,” and it has all the elements of a wonderful Christmas story. It was written in a tent in in South Vietnam on a typewriter by a young father, far from home on Christmas.
Christmas Eve. It’s early in the morning on Christmas Eve and the first thing on my mind this morning was writing each of you to wish you a blessed Christmas. Daniel just got into bed after working all night at Tim Horton’s. We are looking forward to our Christmas Eve Service at Evangel. We will work to put out 500 luminaries today and tonight hundreds with gather with candlelight in hand to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Mom and Dad will be in tonight if the weather cooperates with their plans. The day after Christmas all our children, their spouses and our grandchildren will gather near Shipshewana, Indiana for a Christmas dinner.
Licking County Farm. Our chapters of Licking County Farm will resume after the first of the year. Thanks for your interest in them.
Making Christmas Memories
By Ken Pierpont
Sunday night Lois and I were given a valuable Christmas gift. We enjoyed it last night. It was a set of passes to Greenfield Village for Holiday Nights. There’s nothing I have ever seen quite like it.
There were lights all over the village, and glowing kerosene lantern lights along every walkway. Skaters laughed their way around an old-fashioned ice-skating rink under hanging lights. There were smells of cooking things in the cold air. There were fires here and there ringed with happy people pushing back the cold. There were carolers in costume, various editions of Model T Fords chugging faithfully around, a saxhorn ensemble on the street, and a colorful carousel. There was a wagon drawn by four beautiful white horses with a troubadour on board singing and strumming and entertaining the passengers. On the roof of the house where Robert Frost once lived was a jovial Santa holding court—somehow knowing the very names and hometowns of children in the crowd.
At the end of the village green is a colonial chapel with a white spire towering up into the dark winter sky over the whole village. On the green was a covering of snow. People, wrapped in the warm clothing bustled here and there. There was a covered bridge, ponds, woods, craft shops, barns, sheds, and Victorian homes. Many were in a festive mood.
Here and there were courting couples—couples in love. Christmas is a beautiful time of year to be in love and the Village is a for it. My lover was taking pictures of the whole affair and I was using the cold as an excuse to coax a warm kiss out of her from time to time. She is a photographer. She notices things other people don’t see. She watches people. About then she noticed something sad.
There on the margin of the Village Green, just outside of the circle of light cast by a roaring fire, just out of range of the sound of a storyteller… was a couple. They were not having a good evening. They were in deep, embarrassing, angry, public, conflict. It was three nights before Christmas. It was a perfect evening. They had spent a significant amount of money to enjoy a one-in-a-lifetime Christmas experience. They were standing at the base of a huge spruce which was glowing with hundreds and hundreds of beautiful lights. A few yards a way a man took turns playing fiddle tunes and a penny whistle and telling the stories behind the songs of Christmas. There was beauty and wonder everywhere. There were Christmas carols hanging in the air all around, but this couple was dead to all of it. They were arguing angrily—trading violent verbal blows like desperate boxers coming down to the final round—just battering each other verbally. They were so engaged in it that they seemed unaware of anything around them.
We walked away. I tried the suppress the painful thought of it. I have noticed that often people look unhappy at Christmastime. Even in places of celebration or recreation—people are often working so hard to have fun or to celebrate that they look troubled. They look burdened. They look busy. They often look sad, but they rarely look joyful. Even a few days before Christmas people’s faces are often chiseled with grim determination or blank with quiet resignation.
At Greenfield Village on Holiday Nights the evening closes with a stroll across the Village Green following carolers in period costumes who are carrying lanterns. Then everyone gathers in a crowd around the Town Hall for caroling and an impressive display of fireworks.
Lois took her last few pictures and we walked toward the car looking forward to some warmth and food, but the last thing we saw before we exited the quaint village was the quarrelling couple. An hour later they were still trading verbal blows. Still their faces were snarled in anger and hurt. Beneath them, looking up wordlessly with wide eyes, were their two small children… recording an unforgettable Christmas memory.
I walked away with my heart aching to introduce people to Christ. We all need Him in our homes. He is the hope of Christmas. He is the light of the world. He is the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Christmas Eve 2009