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
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