Saturday, December 24, 2011
Comfort and Joy
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 told....my 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 living....as 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 on...at least that's the earliest I remember it.