Archives for posts with tag: Kansas

Here we are, January 9th already.  There are hints that the days getting longer and so we are assured that spring is coming.  But it is still Christmas….if one observes 20 days of Christmas.  While the commercial world long ago swept up all the remnants and ushered in a new season of buying, there are those of us who are sitting by the Christmas tree in the evening reading the books we received as gifts, admiring the ornaments collected throughout our lifetime, lighting candles, listening to the music of Christmas and Epiphany–and hearing more of its beauty.  

Twenty days of Christmas has been celebrated in Sweden since 1680–King Knut’s Day or Tjugondedag Knut.  And the idea of Tjugondedag Knut was brought with immigrants to America, too.  Older people in my home church–Scandian Grove Lutheran Church–founded in 1858, used to say “Tjugondedag Knut er Julen ut.”Image  Roughly translated, it means something like “Twentieth Day Knut and Christmas is out.”  In Lindsborg, Kansas–founded in 1869 and the most Swedish community in America–they will celebrate King Knut’s Day with a potluck dinner at Bethany Lutheran Church.  People will have put their Christmas trees on the street corner and volunteers with pickup trucks will haul the trees for recycling.  At the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis there will be a party for children and they will take the decorations off the trees as Christmas ends.

And so Merry Christmas, God Jul, Glaedelig Jul.  Enjoy these four more days of Christmas!

ImageThe unadorned or softened faces I see carry their own congenital experiences of mother and grandmother, pioneer wives and mothers. Women who walked down the trail west with their men behind wagons and team that carried all that was left of home, knitting together East and West to shape farm and range with their step, to create homes, raise children, bury their dead.  They were creating America and Americans.  Their faces already were sculpted from granite.  Their should have been the faces on Mount Rushmore.  …..Betsey Brodahl (1923-2012)

Alma Christina Lind Swensson stepped into the landscape of Lindsborg, Kansas in the autumn of 1880–just about this time of the year.  She was twenty years old, musically gifted, and newly married to Carl Aaron Swensson, the pastor of Lindsborg’s Bethany Lutheran Church.  Like countless thousands of women of her time, she followed her husband west. Like a patient potter, would shape this frontier village and farming community into a culture that would sustain its people through times of difficulty and times of great joy.

To learn about the life of Alma Swensson, read my book, Grace Faith, and the Power of Singing:  The Alma Christina Lind Swensson Story.