Tim and I were both thrilled when we were told by a new acquaintance of mine that there would be a Christmas Mass held at the Catholic Church in Burwash Landing.
I have been in this church many times, as it is open to the public in the summer as a museum. It has an attached little school room and then a Priest living quarters, all which have long ago been abandoned.
However, once a year they hold a Christmas Mass in the building.
Interior-Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Here is Tim with Charlie before the service.
The black Propane Heater is set up ahead of time to warm the building, but must be shut off before the services as the fumes are so strong.
The heater in the corner is broken. Since this church no longer receives funds from the hierarchy it will remain so. There was an electric heater (the white one on the left of this photo) but it still didn't keep my toes from feeling frozen, even in my Sorels!
The temperature outside that night was -26.5C.
After the forty minute service, we were invited next door to the caretaker's residence for fellowship and snacks. It was so kind of them, and we enjoyed visiting with them and hearing Andre' and Charlie talk about their many trapping experiences from a lifetime of living here in the Yukon Territory.
The caretakers name is Andre, he is a French fellow who still has a very strong, beautiful accent. His wife, Aggie, is a lovely Christian woman who drives the local school bus.
Andre' doesn't actually live in the home in the Winter as he is also a caretaker for a gold mine that is about 20 minutes west of their home. The owners of the mine find it more economical to pay someone to stay on site while they are away than to risk their property being vandalised or their equipment stolen.
As for regular church services, the Priest comes to Burwash Landing once a month. These services are held in the caretaker's home. They have a little nook off of the living room with an alter and long folding doors to open when they have services, then close at all other times when there's not.
There where only eight of us who attended the Mass; Tim and I, Charlie and Cecile, Andre' and Aggie, the Priest and his driver, Frank.
Side view-Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
I can honestly say that I'm thankful for this new way of celebrating Christmas. Although it is not the one I would have chosen for myself, I'm so happy that I now have had this experience to remember for a lifetime and to share with my grandchildren.
Again, God has shown me that He is with us no matter where we may wander!
I was working when a customer came in to dine at the lodge.
He and I were the only one's there at the time. He told me he was from Ancorage, Alaska on his way down to Washington state to move to help with the care of his elderly father now.
He ate and then when he had finished dining he ask if he might bring his cello in and play a few Christmas carols.
By this time my husband, the owners, and another employee had come into the dining room.
The owner, not a Christian, begrudedly agreed to allow him to play and then quickly left.
It was all I could do to keep myself from sobbing when this very quiet, humble man began to play all of the beautiful Christmas carols.
I felt like the Lord had sent him here just for me.
You see, working in this remote area has been especially hard for me during this Christmas season. There are no churches here, very limited TV access to good programing and my Internet is so limited I haven't even heard any of the Christmas carols that we often take for granted during this holiday season.
I requested 'Carol of the Bells', just because it's a favourite of mine.
Soon, everyone had left and it was just him and myself again.
Is it any wonder that I felt that the Lord had sent him there just for me?
He played several traditional religious hymns-it was a transporting moment for me.
This man's lone recital felt like a gift from The Lord's very Throne Room.
While I was busy with other work, he very quietly packed up his instrument,
and when I returned to the dining area he was gone.
I didn't even get to tell him how much his spontaneous concert had meant to me.
I don't truly imagine that this man is really a heavenly being, but I do believe that he was sent from the Lord as a gift to fill a very empty spot in my heart at this time, and I'm so...grateful.
Anyway, hope you don't mind me sharing my sappy little story with you today.
May this wonderful season be merry and bright for you-Kimberly