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Christmas Music is a Source of Joy

by F. Marie Foley

 

 

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What would Christmas be without voices lifted in praise? If there is a simple source of joy in the world, itís this-lifting ones voice in music. Music, especially at Christmas defies time and separation. It gives memory a tune. Music we experience together as family or church family is more than music.

I canít remember when I didnít sing (not well, mind you), canít remember when a song book, radio or simply good spirits didnít set me off. I sing when Iím sad, sing when Iím happy, sing for no good reason at all.

Church music became a part of me at an early age, in churches that had good singers. At times the sermon might be over my head as a small child, but when the first note was heard, the choir stood to sing and the congregation joined in, you would as promised, feel in walking distance of heaven. You see, I had a number of churches besides my own in which to practice my singing. I loved to visit the churches that my grown-up friends attended. At Christmas time I would eye the list of songs hungrily- I had come to sing. Would my favorites be there? Yes, most of the time they were, thereís Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Silent Night.

It depended on who took me to the service as to how loud I felt I could sing. My friend Miss Nell Childress didnít think it appropriate for me to ďcut looseĒ at the Baptist Church; however I was allowed to sing as loud as I wanted on the walk to and from church. In the choir in that church weaving through all the voices, in and out, over and under, was another friendís clear resonant alto. This ladyís beautiful voice could always slip through the others in the choir and find me in the congregation.

At the Methodist Church my aunt thought I was a bit loud in ďmaking a joyful noise unto the Lord.Ē My gentle uncle didnít seem to mind. I loved the sound of the organ when Miss Helen Schanzenbacher played, Oh Come, All Ye Faithful; even my scrooge aunt liked that. She ask me once if I ever sang any of the cute songs that other kids sang. I said that I sang Here Comes Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, but that those were Christmas tree and presents songs. The best Christmas songs were the ones we sang in church.

 My ďspecialĒ aunt Eunice and I regularly attended the Christian Church which was located on Walnut Street at that time. Not only were there great singers there, but so many wonderful people that are a joy to remember. Looking back they seemed to know that when we lift our voice in songs of praise, we discover that the song lifts us.

 Voices. Beautifully familiar voices from the past and the present rising together in a chorus of Christmas praise. With my off-key, not so young anymore, cracking voice, I hope once again to sing the songs of Christmas; I hope you will too.

 A joyous Christmas

 

 
     
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