Daily Archives: December 14, 2018

THE CHRISTMAS CAROL (11 Days and Counting)

β€œThe memory of a single hymn [carol] learned in childhood has often proved decisive in the spiritual crises of later years.”~Historian Ernest Edwin Ryden
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As much as I love all my churches that have adapted to the “Christian-band-stage-presentation” format, I still miss the formality of the church in which I grew up. I miss the “standing-on-holy-ground” reverent quiet that seemed to circle the sanctuary even when I was all alone to cry or sing or pray or just sit in silent wonder. I miss the hymns – the carols – that everyone sang every year – in harmony. I miss the recitations of the Psalms, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Aaronic blessing said from the back of the church.
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As I watched President Bush’s church funeral service, the sniffles tickled my throat with memories.
πŸŽ„My mom’s many solos.
πŸŽ„The smell of pipe smoke as I leaned into my dad’s side and closed my eyes.
πŸŽ„The organ my God-mother tried and tried to teach me to play (the feet couldn’t keep up with the hands).
πŸŽ„The instruments that would accompany the choir on special occasions – played by people/peers I knew and admired.
πŸŽ„“O Holy Night” – my first childhood solo with a choir.
πŸŽ„The many years as a soloist for a variety of city churches and even a synagogue or two which helped pay my way through college and those first years as a teacher.
πŸŽ„Walking down the aisle by myself to marry the Hubby.
πŸŽ„Directing my own kidlets’ programs in that same childhood church – and a few others.
πŸŽ„But the strongest memories are those of the voices – mom,dad, grandma, Hubby, kidlets’ voices – tickling my ears as we prayed – as we spoke the psalms – as we sang the carols – as we stood side-by-side in God’s presence and felt His spirit bind us closer than close.
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On nights when the Christmas Spirit seems far away, in these days when disunity rips at my edges and the seams of our society, it is the carols that unites my heart with hope. I don’t even have to listen to a CD or the radio or – (you get the idea). The words are there – even the harmonies. All I have to do is close my eyes and hear yesterday’s voices singing those familiar words in my heart.
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“O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!” ~John S. Dwight the-nativity-greg-olsen (Greg Olsen artwork)