Appalachia is about people as much as it is about place.
We have a lovely Christmas tradition at my church. Our pastor gathers scripture for each day of Advent (December 2-24 this year) and assigns them to volunteers who then write a short entry for a devotional that’s handed out to the congregation.
I think this is our third year and I LOVE reading the thoughts and ponderings of my church family each morning. Of course, I also LOVE sharing my own thoughts. This year I was given two scriptures–the first being Psalm 90, a Psalm of Moses. Not your typical Christmas reading. I’d just been to visit one of the saints of the church (in her 90s) when I sat down to write my entry for December 4. I was struck by how much she and Moses had in common. And so I wrote this about one of the amazing people in MY Appalachia:
Establish the work of our hands . . .
Her mother made the dress, stitching love and hope into every seam. A 1950s confection of white lace over taffeta, sleeveless with opera length gloves, tea length.
Let your work be shown to your servants and your glorious power to their children . . .
There was one child, a girl, a pearl without price. Now the child watches over the mother, offers what comfort this world holds.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us . . .
Her brother survived the war. After peace was declared, his plane crashed in the ocean. Afflicted with just twenty-one years.
The years of life are but toil and trouble . . .
Oh, but the joy of a good man. A good marriage. Sixty-seven years. She can close her eyes and see him on the day she wore white lace over taffeta.
You sweep the years away like a dream, like grass renewed in the morning . . .
She knows the joy of thrusting her hands into soil, of making flowers grow, of inviting life to spring from the earth. The pot on the windowsill reminds her.
A thousand years in God’s sight are nothing more than yesterday . . .
Without saying the words, she loves these mountains that are as old as the world. Older than she is or ever will be. Made from the same dust.
The Lord is her dwelling place.
From everlasting to everlasting . . . God.