One Christmas Memory
My Christmas memories are like everyone else’s. Gifts and gatherings, friends and festivities, songs and sermons. Growing up, I was lucky enough to participate in all of these.
I lived just on the outskirts of the city, in a town called Shillington. It is a lot like where I live now. There’s the main drag, schools named after important people, and holiday parades.
My house was the old one at the top of the street. To the right lay a Jewish cemetery complete with mausoleums and tombstones dedicated to Holocaust victims. Bordering that was the Protestant cemetery and next to that, another one. Behind my house, over the wooded hill and down the other side was the Precious Blood Convent. The Convent had a sign placed randomly in the middle of the woods that read:
If only the birds with the best voices sang,
the forest would be silent.
That sign inspired me and I felt blessed that I could sing and participate in the local church’s children’s choir.
As a matter of fact, when I was growing up, I aspired to become a professional. My hairbrush was my microphone and my tennis racket my guitar.
There was only one problem with my goal. I couldn’t carry a note.
For church performances, I was often given special roles that involved things like tambourines and bells. One Christmas service, the children’s choir prepared to sing “Angels We have Heard on High.” This is such a lovely song, and to hear it song by children’s voices is awe inspiring. But my voice wasn’t the only problem for the choir director. I couldn’t pronounce the Latin lyrics.
The director worked with me separately and I was finally able to sing with the rest of the children. This performance is one Christmas memory that I have that is not like everyone else’s. I now know that I will never carry a tune, but when I hear that song sung today, I sing it like a bird in the forest.
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.