It’s Christmas Eve, 2013. Hard to believe another year has slipped by so quickly. As always, it’s been a year of both joy and sorrow. We’ve experienced some wonderful answers to prayer; other things are still in transit and we wait while the Lord works.
Of course, this time of year brings a believer’s heart to the manger, and Bethlehem, and the Baby Who came to die so that we all could have eternal life. There is so much I love about this time of year. Music! Oh, the wonderful, beautiful, majestic music of Christmas! And the sweetly quiet, contemplative music, and everything in between. My memories of Christmas are always set to a background of the old records my parents had, and now the CD’s I play every year and continue to collect.
Food, of course. Traditional and new, I’m not fussy.
Family and friends.
Church–the carols we start singing around Thanksgiving, the special music prepared by people in the choir; the piano solos and the brass choir that played before the morning service got under way. I especially look forward to the Christmas Eve service, which is always joyous and sweetly quiet at the same time, usually a candle light affair in a beautifully decorated auditorium, with everyone all dressed up in their Christmas finery.
The smells of Christmas are a memory I treasure, especially because I’m losing my sense of smell. I love the aroma of pine, the crisp cold of fresh snow, the warmth of a wood fire; cookies baking, a ham or a turkey in the oven, fresh rolls, and spiced cider. I love the smell of the smooth, chilly cheeks of my grandchildren when they come in from the cold.
And speaking of grandchildren, there is nothing that melts the heart like the sparkle in their eyes when they open gifts. That they are thankful is a beautiful thing, and makes giving the gifts even more of a joy.
Sometimes, we sit in the living room and play music, and sing. Many in the family have very good voices, and the children all play musical instruments. Even the youngest pianist is eager to play for us. We have brass, woodwind, strings, and our voices. This is perhaps one of my favorite things. My own voice is growing old and tired, but I still manage to sing for a little while with my kids and their spouses and their children. We make a joyful noise.
So. The gifts are waiting to be wrapped. I have to make a jello salad and my always-popular dinner rolls, but the rest of the meal is my daughter’s job on Wednesday. She loves hosting Christmas, and I’m more than thankful to move over and give her that honor.
As we all gather to enjoy the day, my prayer is that we never forget Who it is that we’re celebrating; that we continue to have and treasure our freedom to say “Christmas” instead of whatever the politically correct folks want us to say; that we love each other and love our God.
One of my most treasured verses: Micah 6:8. “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”