Pennsylvania was my favourite state and we spent the build-up to Christmas in fairly rural Lancaster county.
Part of the appeal of Pennsylvania is the history of the state. Called the keystone state because of its involvement in the Second Continental Congress and two of America’s founding documents drafted by the founders there: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (Independence hall in Philadelphia).
Pennsylvania is also interesting in the people that settled there and live there today: the Amish, descendants of German Christians, and Mennonites. From our visit to the Mennonite information center, I discovered that in terms of their being Anabaptists, I had no cause to disagree with the Amish or the Mennonites in their doctrine.
Anabaptists hold to adult baptism and separation of church and state. Nothing wrong with that.
For the first time in a decade or more, I found myself in the theatre watching a play. Twice in one week. We attended a Christmas play at a large 2 thousand-seater auditorium which was well put together and included live animals and stunning props, actors and backgrounds, which really brought to life the birth of Christ.
The other play was more contemporary and intimate with a much smaller venue. The setting is a fictional town called Paradise. I found it more emotional, especially the portrayal of the mother with dementia, Hazel, who at the climax of the play suddenly remembers a large portion of Scripture and quotes it verbatim, reveling in Christmas.
Christmas miracles in 2019 Paradise, PA, where even dementia can’t keep away the meaning of the birth of Christ. ‘Just another day in Paradise’.
At first glance it may seem like the name of a fictional town, but there really is a town in Pennsylvania called Intercourse. Which I imagine is one of the ways the town population persists.
I first saw a Trump bumper sticker in Pennsylvania, a state that unexpectedly broke for him in 2016. The people I met were genuine and down to earth.
We attended a small church of around 10 souls in Strasburg with traditional hymns, organs and a member of the congregation playing a mountain dulcimer (which I’ve read is part of the zither family of instruments).
Far from bustling New York, Lancaster county was an oasis, a place of tranquility and simple faith and a man could be happy there.