In western Pennsylvania, the frigid December afternoons are passing quickly and it will soon be Christmas once again. “Ring silver sells, ring silver bells…” plays in the kitchen from a CD player. The music picks up speed and layers of instruments keep repeating the theme, the piano pounding out the familiar Christmas Carol and the mandolin plucked in an unrelenting Latin rhythm mingling with a classy jazz trumpet and a metal stringed violin. “Ring silver bells, ring silver bells…”
Many Christmas celebrations over my life time linger in little snippets and fragments, layered and overlapped like Christmas melodies playing one by one, over and under each other, with a nostalgic reverie.
Oh, Christmas Tree…my childhood comes so quickly to my mind as the carols continue to play. I was about ten years old, a little girl who like to wear blue jeans and flannel shirts. A little girl who liked to play tag and make hide-outs in the woods around our neighborhood, splash in rain puddles, run barefoot and share secrets and laughter with my friends.
Like my three younger siblings, our anticipation of Santa Claus had reached a zenith. Christmas was finally here, at last. I worried that I had not been “good enough” for Santa but everything must have been ok because I did have a stocking full of little treasures that morning. What joy! One by one the little gifts by were unwrapped by my brothers, Dave and Tommy, and my sister, Patti. And, I noticed I had one more gift in my stocking than the other three had. It seemed strange, to have an extra gift. I left it till last as we giggled and squirmed amid the wrappings we were discarding as we tore into the gifts. OH, Christmas morning has is the most wonderful, fun time of a little child’s life! And, it is memorable.
At last, I reached back into the stocking and removed the wrapped gift that was left – the extra one. Slowly, I peeled back the layers of paper – it was wrapped in several layers of tissue and colorful paper. And, then, my smile disappeared, because my wonderful gift was a heavy, shiny lump of black coal. Just me. The Coal. I never knew who and I never knew why. But I knew then it had come from Santa because I had been very bad that year. Oh, I believed!
One thing for certain is that none of my children ever received a lump of coal from Santa Clause! They all had hand crafted Christmas stockings that I had made for each of them. And, each little gift in the stockings was given with lots of love.
“I Believe in Angels”
Folks often say Christmas is for children,
skating on ice, building castles of snow.
Oh, I believe Christmas is a holy birthday!
a time to sit by a warm fire, sing holiday songs.
I believe in shepherds! and angels!
and Three Kings who delivered priceless gifts.
It’s a joy to be with friends, to give gifts.
Adults once again become like children,
who look out the window to see the first snow.
The Ancients anticipated this birthday
celebration that began with heavenly songs
when the birth of Messiah was announced by angels.
The holy birth was shared with shepherds and angels,
long before mass marketing, tinsel, and glitzy gifts,
The promised Child would heal earth’s children.
Perhaps the plains were deep with snow
on the night of His miraculous birth.
Yes, I believe in angel songs!
In the darkest winter night, listen for the songs
sung by a choir of angels.
The greatest heavenly gift
came to walk with earth’s children.
As i light the Advent wreath I look out at falling snow-
and remember the reason behind this ancient birthday.
On bleak December days, consider His birthday.
Listen in the quiet night for angel songs.
The birth of Messiah, announced by the angels,
is the reason for exchanging gifts.
I believe Christ’s birthday is truly for children
like me and you who walk in a world of wintry snow.
Every child knows the delight of playing in snow
the joy of receiving gifts in celebration of a birthday-
I believe in birthday songs!
I’m a child once again as I listen for angels
songs and remember the wise men who brought gifts.
the Annointed Gift from God – I believe in children!
*** by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.