Christmas in Hogsback is extra special for a number of reasons. Firstly, our little village is far, far away from the materialistic chaos of malls, shopping and towns. This means that you can really focus on what is important without the stress of “jingle bells” urging you to spend money which you do not have. I, for one, have for the last few years, instituted a “Kaggel Kakkie” Christmas, which means that everything and anything (un)useful or fun gets wrapped into a big pile of presents underneath my “real” (as in a branch from one of my pine trees) Christmas tree, to be distributed in a fun way on Christmas eve, by Christmas father himself!
Secondly, there is a holiday vibe of happiness that permeate the village and surrounds, echoes through the forests and spills down the waterfalls. The sense of peace and tranquility even extends to the visitors, who seems to go with the flow, happy to let go of their troubles and stresses.
Thirdly, in all the time that I have been “living” in Hogsback, most of the Christmases have been cool, even cold at times, with rain and mist. This adds to the mystique of an almost snowy Christmas, with everybody huddling around a warm fire, sipping sherry, talking, playing games and just being. This year was no exception.
The most important reason for being in Hogsback over this time is the Christmas services. The evening before Christmas, families gathers at the little chapel, St Patrick on the Hill, where the children gets a chance to build the nativity scene and we sing all our favourite Christmas songs. This year we all wore Christmas hats and the little chapel was filled to overflowing with happy faces and hearts, big and small. As we trickled out of the church, we were filled with awe as we listen to a young man from Grahamstown, playing joyful songs on his bagpipe with mist swirling around him. Very special indeed!
We celebrate the Christmas meal and present sharing on the night before Christmas. This year I had the pleasure of having my mother, my sister Ellie and her family with me. It is truly a great blessing to be surrounded by family over Christmas. As always the kaggel kakkie present ceremony went down well. At the end of the day we know who our real present is and He is not wrappable.
We usually have our Christmas day service in the arboretum under the canopy of trees, but this year that was not to be. I was initially upset about this and tried to think how we could capture the forest feel somewhere else in Hogsback. We ended up having our Christmas sermon in our little Chapel and what a wondrous occasion it was! The chapel was, again, filled to the rafters with happy faces gleaming with the joy of Jesus! Margaret was back in top form and assured us that peace for the world start with each of us- we are the peaces!
We were again lead out of the church with joyous bagpipe music and I could feel God smiling down at us with streaks of sunshine through the mist. Joy to the world! Christmas in Hogsback is really a place to rediscover God’s gift to us!
How blessed are we to celebrate christmas in this blessed place!!