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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Comfort and Joy

I come from a singing family.  My father, mother, brother and sister all sang.  I remember nights of singing together, and of course filling the pews at the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve service.  On year, when I was visiting my sister who was then married and living in the upper peninsula of Michigan, all of us were together and of course sat in two pews all together.  We all read music and sang in parts.  When we were getting ready to leave, a man in front of us turned and told us we had beautiful voices and it was a pleasure to sit near us.

Christmas eve always meant going to church.  For our evening meal, we would eat potato soup, which was as close as my father would come to the traditional oyster stew my mother grew up with.  Then, there was the waiting until we would all pack up and go to the church service.  Sometimes afterward we would drive around looking at the Christmas lights.

When I was single and was in Middletown, Connecticut, if I was home, I would join my fellow choristers and sing the services there.  Later, when I was a member of the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church choir in Meriden,  it was a rigorous set of services with rather demanding music.  As one of 3 or 4 altos, depending on who was there, it was pretty important to be there.  Of course my penchant for getting strep throat annoyed our choir director to no end.  I can't think of any of the services I have attended through the years which didn't end the same way...the lighting of candles while we all sang "Silent Night."

Truth be family isn't too thrilled with potato soup...but they humored me tonight, largely because there wasn't much in the larder.  Since we've been living in Troy, we have been going to the 9:00 service.  It was as good as usual...and I must admit, it left me missing my brother, sister, and parents.  I'm lucky that all are still well as being lucky I am still alive myself.

Memories are funny things.  While they bring us comfort, there's also an element of sadness that these times have gone and only exist in our own heads.  For some memories it would be best to banish them far away, but our brains don't seem to let us do that easily.  It takes a lot of work.

So, since we've been covering joy....I thought it would be nice to consider what brings us comfort.  Needless to say, many of those things that bring us joy, comfort us as well.  The love of our pets, our families, and our friends.  Some comforts are physical, such as Sue's warm bath and warm blankets and I dare say a number of my friends said chocolate.

Ian surprised me and said that people who keep smiling through adversity comfort him, and Chris said people who have open souls.  Those ARE a rarity and a joy as well when you find them.

I know that people all over the world do not have warm blankets, loving families, or many good memories.  I know that many do not have full bellies.  I do what I can, which seems dismally inadequate, but if we all did the same, then it would make a huge difference.

And so, my dear readers, I pray that this year will bring you comfort and joy in abundance.  May a light shine in your soul and bring you peace every day...not just during whatever holiday you observe at this time of year.  Merry Christmas.

P.S.  The Christmas ornament you see above presently hangs on my tree....and is one which we used when I was growing up probably from about 1963 least that's the earliest I remember it.


Shady Character said...

A late Merry Christmas to you! Our family had that very same ornament but in green!

Michigoose said...

Lol...I have it in green too. The box came with six ornaments, variations on a theme....but the ball color was white, red, blue, green, silver, and I think gold...we only put the red ones up I think this year...Hopefully, I'll get some stuff done so I can get some more blog posts up....L.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lisa,
I have this ornament in red on a wreath I made of tarnished, vintage Christmas balls I found at various thrift stores. I hang the wreath over a circular mirror, and it looks like a Martha Stewart scene!

Best Wishes for improved health in the New Year,
Linda Laird