We attended a lovely carol sing at the Irving Memorial Chapel in the little seaside town of Bouctouche last evening with some friends. The small chapel, crafted of New Brunswick stone with a slate roof and interior beams of magnificent Douglas fir, was designed in tribute to the Irving family’s Scottish roots. (these photos were taken this fall).
It is a small chapel, but quite beautiful…located on a large tree plantation and garden overlooking Bouctouche Bay and surrounded by an amazing stone wall, each piece perfectly placed...crafted without mortar by Welsh and Scottish wallers.
We've always trusted stone to carry our stories forward, haven't we...to places beyond our limited horizons.
It could not have been a more perfect winter’s evening…a clear sky filled to the brim with stars…trees sparkling with white lights…fresh snow…chapel windows softly lit, echoes of piano and organ music…drifting...
There is something so essential and profound about the beauty of a small, intimate church at Christmas. As sweet voices floated upward in song, it struck me that the words were all right there...mortared in my heart…like the occasional old hymn or scripture verse that lifts to my mind unbidden...
How often have I rested on these old carols…time after time…year after year…they remind me that somewhere deep beneath the tasks of every day, lays a firm foundation set in place by my own ancestors.
I looked around at those present…many of us strangers … yet here together on this night, shoulder to shoulder…united by perhaps an unspoken desire for something solid...something beyond gifts and glitz...something worth clinging to.
As harmony lifted familiar words, I felt gratitude for roots…for foundations. For tradition. For trees and stone and the strength of my parents, grandparents...great-grandparents...and the beliefs they cherished and passed on.
And for the power and grace of a Christ-mas that still gives us a song to sing...a reason to celebrate...and remembrance.