Donna and Anne are special friends and probably two reasons that I really don’t want to sell the Toccoa Cottage. (Rebecca Anaya named it for me, and I think it will stick.)

This is one of my favorite churches to photograph at Christmas. It is located in Clarkesville, Georgia, and I know I have posted it before. But this time I had friends with me. Well, come to think of it; Beth and I photographed it once and before that Clarence Wulf introduced Kathy Howard and me to it a few years ago.

Here is dear sweet Donna, who is one of the kindest people I know. Years ago when I moved to the Toccoa Cottage, she was one of the first neighbors I met. She was walking her dog Buddy and stopped to welcome us to the neighborhood. Then she asked where I went to church and went on to tell me about hers. I never forgot that moment; and yes, I began to visit First Presbyterian Toccoa and absolutely fell in love with the people! Their care and warmth became a balm to my heart and soul and plus they love the Lord! Can’t beat that combination!

Donna, Pat, and Anne: we have had a really nice Christmas starting a few weeks ago with the play: A Christmas Carol in Clarkesville. Since then we have eaten, prayed, and played together, and we’ll bring in the New Year in love and friendship.

Just beautiful! Some of the scenes of the movie “I’ll climb The Highest Mountain” were filmed at this church. But we’re still trying to figure this out because the church in that movie does not have pew boxes.

Anne climbed the “highest” stairs to photograph the sanctuary.

A few minutes later I did the same thing. Always when I am in this church, I feel like I have stepped back in time.

We even discovered sermon notes left from the mornings service. I just had to photograph them in a journalist way.

Then I began to read the sermon. It was interesting that the pastor used one of the verses that I had focused on this Christmas: “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

More than likely, Luke personally interviewed Mary. His gospel is written from her perspective and contains many eye witness accounts of the life of Christ. I believed there were so many things about Jesus that God showed her, but she “treasured” them—held them—deep within her and did not tell a soul. When the shepherds came to her and told her and Joseph what they had seen and what the angels had said concerning the baby Jesus. Scripture says that Mary “treasured” their words but we know later she told them to Luke. What a gift we have been given, God’s Word given to us — may we treasure it always.