The Spirit of Christmas was felt indeed in the warm Hogenson historic barn again this year with a packed crowd. The event-goers were celebrating the Christmas story in song and spoken-word, as snow fell lightly outside.“Christmas in the barn” which is annually held at Dale Hogenson’s Chase the Adventure Lodge on Middle Calmar Road, was held this year Sunday, December 15. “The ecumenical event included people of all ages in a musical celebration of the birth of Christ. Involving and promoting friendly relations between different religions is what this annual event is all about,” explains committee leader Annie Rude of Calmar. Preparing for the big event, Dale Hogenson’s family and other "friends of the barn Christmas event" retrieved a donated thirty-foot tall tree from Jim Bappe at the Holiday Pines farm near Decorah. It was brought in on a flat-bed wagon.
Christmas in the Hogenson family barn, known as the “Chase The Adventure Lodge and Hunt Club” originated when the family invited the neighborhood country church, Springfield Lutheran, to join them in offering something to the community in the way of a musical and scriptural celebration. Local musicians played and all sang around the twenty-five foot Christmas tree donated by Jim Bappe of Holiday Pines in Decorah. That was in 2007. It was so enjoyed by neighbors and friends that they planned to do it again. The next couple of years had even smaller participation, as Iowa winter weather kept families from traveling. By 2010 there was a committee of people who took an interest in working with the Hogenson family to plan this beautiful tradition. The 2013 event held last Sunday once again filled the barn to capacity with young and old, as they sang, prayed, and celebrated the simple beginning of a “Christmas in the Barn” long ago.
The event began as Benjamin Unzeitig blew the Shofar, which was an instrument used in biblical times to announce an important event. That night, it was the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Advent Litany led by Pastor Terry Landsgaard candles were lit by four generations of the Hogenson family, Arlene Hogenson, Dale Hogenson, Johanna Hogenson, and one year old Wesson Hogenson. Readings by several pastors included Pastor Doug Bryce of Christian Life Center, Pastor Dave Lenth of Zion Lutheran Church in Castalia, Pastor Tim Borseth of Life House Church in Decorah, Pastor Linda Thompson of Calmar Community United Medthodist Chruch in Calmar, Pastory Terry Landsgaard of Stavanger Lutheran Chruch in Ossian, Father Dan Knipper, retired Catholic Priest, Pastor Joseph Needham of Living Hope Bapist Chruch in Ossian. Music was provided by the Tuesday Night Barn Jammers, Grass Run Bluegrass Band, Children’s Angel Choir is one of the favorites and various local musicians and vocalists sang. There was also a Living Nativity, sing-along and fellowship as the crowd remembered the simple beginnings of the real reason for the season.