Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, Happy Christmas Wishes

My favorite Christmas carol is Carol of the Bells. The song is shrill, kind of silly, features the onomatopoeia ding-dong a lot and is fast/allegro with people singing over each other at points. What's not to love? I played this song in my church handbell group when I was in the sixth grade. I never enjoyed or enthused over my violin or piano lessons (despite my parents' best efforts), but I loved playing the handbells. Wearing the white gloves, polishing the brass on the bells and depending on the other bell-ringers was all part of the ritual and the fun. After our handbell group played, the candlelight service commenced with the sanctuary lights dimming and the flames passing from one candle to the next in our very large Southern church. Those flickering points of light provided lovely illumination and cast everyone in angelic glow. I have this aural and visual memory firmly etched in my mind.

By the time I was in the eighth grade, my family had moved to the tiny town of Cross Lanes, West Virginia. Our church there was much smaller, as was the church sanctuary. The candlelight service was held late on Christmas Eve. This smaller church did not have a handbell group, but relied on the voices of the congregation for the music. As we left the Christmas Eve service that year, snow fell at a quick rate. The snowflakes caught bits of light in the quiet night sparkling like tiny stars falling. By Christmas morning, the whole town was covered in a gorgeous white, glittering blanket. That's my only white Christmas so far in life. I treasure the memory of it.

A good story features groups of three, because three is the magic number. It takes at least three legs for a stool to stand, three wishes for the moral of the tale to unfold. Even in the Holy Trinity of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, three is the number.

I'm only listing two favorite Christmas memories here, because I think that the third is yet to come.

Merry Christmas to all.