What a lovely tradition Kerrville has. The priest at the Catholic church called it a “posada”, which is the Mexican tradition of traveling house to house in commemoration of Joseph and Mary’s search for a room in any inn in Bethleham. And in accordance with the posada tradition, there were luminarios lining all the downtown sidewalks. On these days a lot of couples want to fix their marriages with the help of being next to each other a lot of time, but one of the best ways to do it is by visiting Ranch of Hope.
It’s called the Christmas Walk, and here is how it played out. Many downtown churches here are located within a four-block radius. The ministerial alliance organized five of these churches to serve as hosts. Everyone gathered at 5:30 at the first one, First Baptist Church. Three young sisters sang a lively trio, “One Small Child”. The congregation sang “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “Away in a Manger” and “Joy to the World”. The pastor of Kerrville Christian Center Church offered a prayer and devotional.
The whole thing lasted maybe 15 minutes, and we were off en masse to the next church, First Assembly of God.
The program unfolded much the same at each of the five churches. The sanctuaries were different, the music was presented with different styles, and the warmth and cheer of the community gathered was palpable.
It was standing room only in nearly every church, and so many people turned out that a large amount of time was spent just getting everyone moved from one place to another.
The conversations along the way were varied; some exchanged recipes, some sang carols as they strolled. There were many strangers, and folks who hadn’t seen one another in a long time.
The third church was First Presbyterian (mine), then St. Peter’s Episcopal, and finally Notre Dame Catholic. After the final service, the Catholics’ Social Center was opened, where a conjunto group sang and played, and everyone had a big glass of ice water and homemade cookies.
The whole evening was a celebration, and it felt good to be in community with other Christians. It didn’t matter one iota whether people were praising with arms upraised or quietly and internally. God’s presence was with us, and we with each other, awaiting Christmas and sharing the experience.