pink peony

pink peony
old-fashioned peony

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How I got the Christmas Spriit

We arrived at Sargent's Chapel before darkness
descended so I was able to get a photo of the building.

Last week we finally got away for a few hours to do something I've longed to do for years --

The communion table at Oak Ridge Baptist, which celebrated 150 years of existence in 2015.
 The décor in this lovely church was simple -- greens, burlap and candles.

we took the Country Christmas Church Tour.
The Advent Wreath table was skirted in burlap.

Featuring 22 churches, each one at least 100 years old and most much older, in two counties near the Mississippi River ...

In the fellowship hall, a nativity scene spilled out a basket.

this was WONDERFUL!
The people who greeted us at each church were the nicest folks. The man here
"grew up just two hills over" from Sargents Chapel and has attended here
all his life. Their daughter drives out from Cape Girardeau each Sunday to play the organ,
helping keep this little church alive.

In the early 1800s, 700 German families followed a spiritual leader to the New World and settled on farms in this place that now spans two counties.

After visiting three simple churches, walking into St. Maurus Catholic Church
was a jaw-dropping experience. It was simply gorgeous!

They came because of their faith, and the first thing they did was organize churches.

I loved the grouping of trees with lights behind the nativity scene.

Many of the churches on the tour are Lutheran churches that resulted from that emigration.

One of the ladies who greeted us at this church said she and her husband decided
to move back to the very small community just to be able to attend this church.
It was where she grew up and meant so much to her.

There are also Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches that participate in the tour. They are all bastions of the faith history of the people of this area.

Most of the time, we drove 4-5 miles between churches.

Some of the decorations were lush ...

and some were the simplest style.

The tour began at 3 p.m. and ended at 9. We were able to visit 13 churches in that span of time.

Next year, we'll go back and see the ones we missed and perhaps go back and visit some of these again. It was simply MARVELOUS!

The greeters were so friendly and gladly related a bit of the history to us.

Each church also had a array of treats for visitors.
Three dulcimer players did a wonderful job in the balcony of one of the Lutheran churches.

I took hundreds of photos and still could not capture how lovely each church was, often lit only by candlelight.
This was the only church that no longer holds regular services. There are still
some special services throughout the year. This church as decorated only with cedar and

This MADE Christmas for me. Thank you to all the many volunteers who decorated and hosted this unique and special event.

Looking down on Hill of  Peace sanctuary. The pews are original to the 1858 structure, made of poplar boards; they cost $1.25 each when they were made.

We loved the big cedar tree and the nativity set up on an old cobbler's bench.


  1. How special!! What a wonderful opportunity to view first hand the heritage of faith that gave our country its start! I can understand why that church tour put you in the Christmas spirit!

  2. Wonderful Jan. What a great trip.

  3. Great blog, wonderful pictures & a great idea to do during Christmas.