‘Light’ shines in the darkness at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens
To The Leader
Claybar Funeral Homes and Hillcrest Memorial Gardens celebrated their 6th annual Luminary Service of Remembrance on Saturday, Dec. 9. The day began as volunteers from St. Henry Catholic Church’s confirmation class and the amazing staff of Hillcrest, placed over 4500 candle luminaries on graves throughout the cemetery.
Members of the Bridge City High School and Middle School bands helped “Light” the luminaries following the service at 4:30 p.m.
As the sun disappeared beyond the tree line, an estimated 500 Orange County residents gathered on the grounds of Hillcrest Memorial Gardens to honor family and friends and to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas.
Warren Claybar welcomed those in attendance, acknowledging the hardship and “darkness” we all experienced this year. Special music was offered by Mike Combs with an acapella version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
In a reflective time of remembrance and thanksgiving, those gathered participated in a “Litany of Light” acknowledging the devastation and darkness encountered this year but proclaiming as one voice, “The ‘Light’ shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it!”
Reverend Barry Bradley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Orange, delivered an inspiring message of the peace, and hope focusing on the “Light” given to the world in the birth of Christ. He concluded the service with a challenge to take “the true ‘Light’ of Christmas and shine wherever darkness is found.”
In the final moments of daylight, as darkness settled over the cemetery, those in attendance began lighting the luminaries. The luminaries shined throughout the night as hundreds of families made the drive through Hillcrest to share in the beautiful reminder that in the darkest of nights, “Light” shines its brightest.
A Litany of Light John 1:1-5
Leader: “In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made;
without Him nothing was made that has been made.
In Him was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind.”
All: “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness
has not overcome it.”
Leader: For all of us this year, we have experienced darkness
and we have experienced light in unimaginable ways.
As waters rose, darkness descended upon our homes,
our families, our communities.
As waters rose, darkness descended upon our jobs
and our sense of security.
As waters rose, darkness descended
upon our hopes and dreams.
All: As waters rose, Light shined forth
in the heroic efforts and unexpected kindness of strangers.
As waters rose, Light Shined forth
in the support of friends and families coming together
to share in our loss.
As waters rose, Light shined forth as countless volunteers
and organizations joined in our efforts to rebuild our homes
and restore our lives.
Leader: As waters rose,
“Light shined in our darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.”
All: Thanks be to God for the miracle of Light…
in all its forms, in all its unexpected appearances.