“A true gift of the season ”
by Martha Perkins

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It was Christmas Eve 2000. The snow was falling quietly on Christ Church, that quaint place of worship which has long provided a haven of forested serenity on the Essonville line. The single bell tolled out its welcome, as evocative a sound as the footsteps in the snow as worshippers made their way up the candle-lit path towards the historic church building.

Inside, the church was aglow in the soft light created by the burning coal oil lamps and candles. A more meaningful heat was provided by the woodstove in the corner, soon to be complemented by the warmth generated by all the people tightly packing themselves into the straight-back pews.

There were murmurs of greetings, both seasonal and neighbourly. The desire to exchange glad tidings of Christmas was balanced by the instinct to show respect to the quiet dignity of the church. Voices were muted, but the sentiments expressed no less heartfelt.