On Saturday night, I was privileged to be welcomed into a Christmas tradition in the town of Schomberg, Ontario (just a little north of where I live). Every year, the main street of the community is closed to vehicular traffic. Fire barrels are set out on the sidewalks. Shops open up. Hot chocolate and apple cider are sold. People meet up who may see each other only that one time each year. And a parade happens, but this is no ordinary parade: farm implements of every sort are decked out with Christmas lights and pulled down Main Street to a delighted crowd of onlookers (See photo.)
Okay, so my cell-phone-cam photography isn’t going to win any awards. I wouldn’t blame you if you thought this was some esoteric map of the Great Lakes – but it really is a large farm tractor covered in Christmas lights.
I spent the evening with some new friends walking down Main Street, listening to music, watching an ice sculpture be created before my eyes, and ambling into shops to look around – all very carefully, as I was bundled up like no other time I remember since putting my Hallowe’en costume on over my snow suit as a kid growing up in northern Ontario. Then, when Santa had successfully sat on the hood of a massive combine, waving at everyone (I remarked that he appeared to have been going to the gym over the summer), I went back to the home of a family in the congregation I will soon be pastoring.
What a delightful evening! Making new friends, and making connections with neighbours, while enjoying a celebration of Jesus. True, the parade didn’t even have as much as a nativity scene (that I noticed, anyway), but the gathering afterward was consecrated with grace over a wonderful pot of chili, during which we were reminded that this time of joy and laughter is a celebration of the birth of the One who was present at the creation of the world.
For that, and for the friends with whom I spent this whole evening, I give great thanks.