owl in winter

owl in winter

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Christmas Memory

Look at where we find ourselves, December, the most glamorous month of the year. Savor the parties, the sparkling lights, rich food, shiny ribbons and bows! Viva la Christmas!

Well, sure. But let me share with you one of my favorite Christmas memories, and it's a humble one. It's sepia-toned, for sure, a little ragged around the edges but, nonetheless, here goes.

Here is what I remember. My father (the pastor) urged our church youth group to go Christmas caroling. He, of course, knew each and every address he would have our youth group to travel to; some were nursing homes (where we went inside), but, he also took us all around town in Worthington, Minnesota, to anyone he knew of who might be a shut-in, or unable to travel, or simply old and forgotten; any person who could not make Christmas memories on their own, that's where he had us go.

At the time, I was uncomfortable, standing outside in -10 degree weather in my parka and mittens, standing in my frozen boots with mounting winds assaulting my ears, pastering stray strands of hair to my face, and I wasn't happy about spending my evening being corraled by snow mounds, singing weakly to Christmas hymns for people I didn't know. That's youth for you. I really didn't understand.

I remember one house we stopped at; an elderly widow lived there. I'll never forget the tall, slender widow woman, gray hair gathered up in a bun behind her ears, how she stepped outside of her tiny home when she heard us start singing, gathering her sweater around her, dressed in a housedress and slippers, the warmth of her home silhouetted in yellow behind her and her closed screen door as she stood on her porch stoop and listened to us sing every Christmas hymn we knew. She would have stood there all night, I'm pretty sure, so long as we kept singing and she was so happy to have us there in the first place.

I'll never forget that moment and how much she appreciated hearing the songs she must have loved all her life. This, now, is one of my most treasured memories of this holiday season and I have to thank my father for forcing me through something I didn't have the foresight or the inclination to do at the time, but I now so appreciate.

It's best to do for others. Always.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

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