Stones in the Sacred Spaces


Christmas week had been exceptionally busy at our house. As we finished our holiday baking and gift-wrapping, I was studying and taking a test that I prayed would lead to a new job. And finally, we all came down with a stubborn cold that left us feeling exhausted.

On this last Sunday of the year, John suggested that we take a break and drive to the San Antonio Missions Trail.   We visited Mission Espada and Mission San Juan Capistrano. All four of the eighteenth-century missions are active parishes, and we were blessed to hear singing from inside the church as we stood outside Mission Espada.

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“For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?” Job 8:8-10 (ESV)

As we quietly strolled the grounds, we drank in the stillness of the Sunday morning, broken only by the voices singing “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Sunshine broke through the overcast sky as I reflected on the anxieties as well as blessings of the past week.

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It had been a long, discouraging search for a job. As the sun poured through breaks in the ancient walls of Mission Espada, I thanked God for the rays of hope that poured in when I learned that I had passed the test and could begin working. I gave thanks that my husband was healing from a May spinal surgery, and that my mom and I had enjoyed yet another Christmas decorating season.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was our second stop. We walked through more archways and walls until we found this view of the church.

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When I walk through a historical site, I tend to feel a close connection with those who went before us. The stones in these mission walls hold the histories and stories of those who labored to build the missions, and those who keep these sacred spaces alive in the twenty-first century. We felt especially blessed to be here during this Christmas season, as we give thanks and look forward to the new year.

“Your own ears will hear him.
    Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
    whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)

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