On Christmas Weddings, Plus a Writing Update

Bessie & Gale, December 1907

While we usually think of celebrating Christmas in December, it is also a lovely month for weddings.

It’s been 110 years since my grandparents, Gale Muir and Bessie Kloubec, were married on Christmas Day 1907. While there were many things revealed about Bessie’s life in Secrets of the Dark Closet, there was nothing secret about their wedding. It was a happy event.

I’d love to slip back in time and watch the wedding preparations. The farmhouse must have bustled with relatives coming and going as they made food and decorated the house. Bessie, her sister Carrie, and their mother certainly sewed their own wedding clothes, as they were excellent seamstresses.

Here is a copy of a handwritten invitation to the wedding, followed by a story from the LaMoure Chronicle dated Dec. 27, 1907:


Christmas Wedding

The home of Mrs. Mary Roots in Cottonwood was the scene of a pretty wedding Christmas day at high noon when Miss Bessie Kloubeck, daughter of Mrs. Roots, became the bride of Gale Muir, youngest brother of John W. Muir. Rev. J.G. Noordawter read the service, the bridal couple standing beneath a pretty area of Christmas greens. The bride wore a gown of cream crepe and carried bride roses. After the ceremony the family and invited guests partook a sumptuous Christmas dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Muir departed on the afternoon train for the Twin Cities and other Minnesota points for a visit of several weeks. The young couple are highly regarded by many friends all who join with the Chronicle in hearty congratulations and wishes for many Happy New Years.

Now, in December 2017, we are invited to the wedding of a friend. June is a widow with children and grandchildren. After a successful 42-year marriage, she was content with her life, which included volunteering at a local thrift store. Then one day a fellow named Ordean visited the shop. Soon he also became a volunteer, and they became friends. In October he proposed and she said “Yes.”

This plate was a wedding gift to Bessie & Gale now belongs to a great-granddaughter

Nothing speaks of new beginnings quite like a wedding. It is two people willing to launch into the next phase of life with faith, hope, joy…and wedding gifts.

Of course, Christmas might be explained in a similar way, as faith, hope and joy coming to earth wrapped up as a baby.

I still remember a Christmas Eve service we attended in Healdsburg, Calif., where the speaker asked the congregation if we were to find a baby lying on the pew next to us, what would we do with that baby? Would we leave him lying there or take him home with us?

His point was that we celebrate the birth of Jesus every year, but then we must choose what to do with Him. Do we leave Jesus at the church or do we embrace him and take him with us?

In The Purpose of Christmas, Rick Warren discusses the most important gift we’ll ever receive. Writes Warren, “We often celebrate Christmas year after year after year without receiving God’s gift to us. And if you were to give me a Christmas gift, or any kind of gift, and a year later, you go ‘Hey Rick, how did you like my gift’ and I go, ‘well actually I’m really glad you gave it to me, Steve, but I didn’t have a chance to open it, I was really busy.’ Well you’d be offended and I would miss the benefit of the gift.”

Gale & Bessie, circa 1940s

Bessie and Gale gave themselves to each other that Christmas day and every day for the next 50 years, until his death in May of 1957. On their wedding day, they didn’t know all they would live through, but even if they could have foreseen the future, I’m certain they would have still chosen each other.

In the same way, we can’t see the future, but we can chose to find faith and hope in God. A favorite Christmas carol, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, ends with these words, “O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.” That is a good prayer for this season and for all of our lives.


Writing Update

Since August, I’ve signed books 11 days in eight different venues in Bismarck and LaMoure. Now the comments and reviews are coming in. Your kind and thought-filled words are a great reward. Thank you from the bottom of my prairie heart! Here is an email from a nephew. It is so sweet, I thought about saving it for Valentine’s Day, but it’s too good to hold onto.


I read to (my wife) every night, usually a good Christian book or biography, and then the Bible before we drift off to sleep. We’re now reading Secrets of the Dark Closet. I’ll only read one or two chapters an evening savoring each one like dark chocolates. We REALLY like this book. You write so well with such descriptions as to take us into each setting and feeling what Bessie felt. Being personally connected is another bonus for me in that I remember Bessie and especially Carrie.  I am so blessed and proud of you Auntie Gayle.

Thanks so much!

And thank you for sharing your kind words and this intimate glimpse inside your marriage. That special time you spend together each evening is sooo romantic, it’s possible a few women readers will want to read your message to their husbands!

What’s up next? Well, there are parties and a Christmas wedding to attend. And perhaps it’s time to send some cards, purchase a few gifts and bake some cookies. By the way, congratulations to June and Ardean. May you have many Happy New Years!

By the beginning of 2018, I will be ready to talk to groups about the writing process and do more book-signing events. And…there is another book begging to be finished.

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