Christmas Sunday Dec. 23, 2012, Hazzard’s Church

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Funny, once Christmas is over, things that happened before Christmas seem a long time ago, don’t they?

The annual Christmas service at the historic Methodist, later United, church at Hazzard’s Corners, halfway between Queensborough and Madoc, Ont., took place exactly a week ago tonight, yet it feels so long ago.

It was a lovely service. The church was lit by candles and kerosene lamps. The music was wonderful. And the place was packed, with chairs up the aisles to accommodate an overflow crowd. It was a true community event, and hats off to the dedicated group of Hazzard’s volunteers who make it happen.

It made me think about how “community” doesn’t happen by accident: you have to work at it. And if you do work at it, and build community, the rewards are splendid. Hazzard’s Church on Christmas Sunday was a wonderful example of the little rural places that are still there and still going, hidden away in an ever-more-urbanized world.

I suspect that on Christmas Sunday 2012, when all the great cathedrals in all the urban centres of the world were celebrating, little Hazzard’s Corners, and all of us gathered there, may have been closer to the true Christmas story than were all of those grand places. Bethlehem wasn’t very big, after all. And on that first Christmas, the lights would have been candles and oil lamps, just as we had.

I think we are on to something.

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