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Lights spectacular in Johnson City

by davesandel on December 24th, 2021

Friday, December 24, 2021                                         (today’s lectionary)

Christmas Eve

Lights spectacular in Johnson City

Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God dwells in a tent!

Mike and Diane took us to their high Texas hill country property yesterday, the beginning of a joyous trip through the country to Johnson City, birthplace of Lyndon Johnson, to see the endless lights on every tree and every building in the town. Before he became president, Lyndon Johnson worked tirelessly to get electricity for the farm families in the Texas hill country west of Austin. The Pedernales Electric Cooperative, based in Johnson City, made it happen then and makes it happen now.

On the way we listened to Christmas music, courtesy of Alexa. The hit of the afternoon was “Angels We Have Heard on High,” sung in both Italian and English by blind opera singer Andrea Bocelli. We also recited the books of the Bible, Old Testament and New, and Jasper slept like a rock during his nap in the car seat.

We had lunch on a sun-filled camper table, along with a ladybug, overlooking the wide hill country. We hiked to one of Mike’s three deer blinds. This was nothing like a sidewalk hike around the block. Jasper was shorter than the grass we walked through, but he kept on walking. He never asked me to carry him. He climbed halfway up the deer blind’s ladder. We found an old legbone from a deer, which he kept as a souvenir.

Jasper saw what was (I think) his first big screen movie at the Science Mill Museum, about dinosaurs in Antarctica. We were nearly alone in the theater’s last showing of the day, and both Miles and Jasper shrieked with delighted fear, laughed loudly at the penguins and other dinosaur wannabes, and talked back to the creatures coming to life on the screen. Have you watched a movie like that lately, where the kids didn’t know to be quiet and responded to everything out loud? Wow!

The favors of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

We had to wait an hour for our table at the Pecan Street Restaurant, for pizza and chili and coffee and the best (have I heard this before?) chicken fried steak in Texas. It was, too. The chili was topped with green onions, cheddar cheese and warm sour cream. And when we were through it was dark outside.

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death. Alleluia.

The courthouse was completely covered in lights, and a square block of decorated snowmen and Santas, trees, nativities and tractors, filled up with kids and parents and grandparents. We skipped the hay rack ride, didn’t get in line to ride the pony, but we did get absolutely lost, along with thousands of other people in this fairly small Texas town, in the forest of lights on every tree. We didn’t get our jackets from the car. It was 68 degrees. Oh, my goodness!

You have said, “My kindness is established forever, and in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.” Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

We headed back to Austin. Mike drove, quietly, over the river and through the woods, and the highways hummed under the wheels. I was riding shotgun but fell asleep a couple of times, and a little over an hour later we carried Miles and Jasper heavy into their house, ready for the night.

I felt ready too. I think we all did. Sleep, and awaken in the morning, on the eve of Christmas.

In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwelt in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 (2 Samuel 7, Psalm 89, Luke 1)

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