Ride to Church in Scotland

Today’s beautiful Ride to Church(es) comes to us from Amanda Klein Nokleby and Matt Nokleby, who spent Christmas Day 2009 in Scotland and were nice enough to share some of their beautiful pictures with us.  They write:

Two years ago we decided to get the hell out of Dodge for Christmas. Our reasons were manifold. First, Matt had recently left the Mormon Church, and we wanted to avoid what was likely to be a stressful family environment. Second, we live in Texas; the thought of a Christmas at 75 degrees was too sad to contemplate. So, with hopes of experiencing something out of a Charles Dickens novel we booked flights for Glasgow. The result was a magical but lonely Christmas among the castles and cathedrals of Scotland, a celebration of religious tradition apart from theological baggage.

The highlight of our trip was the Christmas Eve service at the Dunblane Cathedral. Dunblane is just outside of Stirling, a Victorian-era town that set a perfect Christmas atmosphere. The service itself was bittersweet: The pastor spoke of being “home for Christmas”, a poignant message to two vagabonds in a foreign country. After the sermon the lights were extinguished, and we waited silently in the darkness for the bells to ring in Christmas day. It was a beautiful moment, and it persuaded us never again to spend the holiday away from family if we could avoid it.