It was just moments ago that we took their coats as they arrived and now they’re putting them back on to leave. “We’ll do it again next year,” the words come easily to our lips, just as they did last year and the year before that. Why is it that some traditions seem burdensome, but some are pure delight? The hours fly by as we enjoy the easy company of old friends, most of whom we have known and loved for a lifetime. Come to think of it, that lifetime seems to have slipped by just as effortlessly as the last two hours have.
Christmastime means so many things, but the one activity that just cannot be ignored is making music. The music of the season is marvelous and varied, with some tunes that set the toe to tapping and the young ones to dancing, others that inspire reflection, even introspection. We sang through a pretty comprehensive range of those songs tonight, from “Jingle Bell Rock” to the “Hallelujah Chorus” (that one, we had to do twice) and even a few unfamiliar ones which we’ll have to remember for next year. The Lovely Lady sat at the piano, frequently with a grandchild on her lap as she played and we called out our favorites, with a smattering of the experimental songs tossed out by the adventurous folks in the group. I’m guessing that for some readers, this experience would have been pure torture, but for us, it was a taste of paradise.
The annual “singing and snacking” included a fair amount of snacks, most of which I won’t describe here, since I’m not sure if my doctor is reading this. I’ll put it this way; there wasn’t much health food there. But, in fact, the food was secondary to the company. I’ve described the old friends, but we were blessed as always with a good number of young friends (who are still old friends, except not actually old, if you take my meaning). Every year, I’m amazed that they are anxious to be included in the fellowship, since we don’t really do contemporary music at this event. But these young folks love being part of the joyful celebration of the music of the season and the celebration wouldn’t be the same without them. Each year sees more children and I think we’re doing a good job of indoctrinating them into the joy of this wonderful heritage of great music.
Certainly the highlight of the evening was when the little angels (and a couple of imps) came in with us as we sang “Go Tell It On The Mountain”, a song many of them learned for a pageant they put on a week ago. I don’t want to be too sentimental, but seeing those beaming faces and hearing their young voices raised in joyful song is enough to bring tears to my eyes as I write this. A close second to this was the enjoyment of hearing one of the young adult ladies, a friend I’ve had the enjoyment of knowing from the day she was born, sing the beautiful and haunting “I Wonder As I Wander” in her pure, clear voice as we listened and contemplated the wonder that “Jesus the Savior did come for to die, for poor ornery people like you and like I.”
The evening passed too quickly, the goodbyes were said too soon, but we plan to do it all again next year. If past years are any indicator, it won’t seem like any time at all. What a wonderful season of the year! What a joy that God not only gave the gift of His Son, but He gave the gift of friends old and new, along with the additional largesse of wonderful music to commemorate the amazing event!
“Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere.
Go, tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born!”