She came down the steep driveway steering the push-button drive Dodge Station Wagon. Her “Sleigh” was loaded to the roof-line, filled with toys and every baked good imaginable. Squeals of glee burst forth as my brother Thomas and I ran up the driveway to greet Mammy. My grandmother was no ordinary woman. She was divorced in the 1940’s when women were often ostracized for this social stigma. She had made a life and career for herself selling World Book Encyclopedia. She advanced quickly to Regional Manager, owned a home on the river across from Ft. Sumter in Charleston, SC., and was replete with stories and tales that one might find on the pages of the three sets of World Book volumes that called our bookshelves home. [We always benefited from the prior years’ display edition!]
Christmas was a time filled with expectation and excitement. From the Suwannee River limestone fireplace where we hung our stockings, to the live pine tree that filled the corner of the Great Room with scent and sight! The season of Christmas brought joy and laughter and music into every nook and cranny of our home.
My father and older brother would spend days in the woods hunting with the beagles, and my younger brother and I would spend hours under the tree shaking and inspecting every package. One day the cat found her way under the tree with us, decided to climb it’s branches, and to everyone’s horror, the tree and it’s antique glass ornaments came crashing down! It’s amazing how such a seemingly disastrous event was somehow reinterpreted into a family gathering to clean-up and put things back in order!
That evening we didn’t focus on the broken ornaments, some of which I’m sure were priceless, but we gathered around the old grand piano and sang! I sat in Mammy’s Lap, placing my hands on top of hers as her fingers glided across the Ivory Keys. We didn’t sing songs of sorrow and woe over the felled Christmas tree and broken ornaments, we sang songs of Hope and Promise…
There’s a Song in the Air, There’s a Star in the Sky, There’s a mother’s deep prayer, and a baby’s low cry…
And the star rains it’s fire while the beautiful sing, for the manger of Bethlehem, cradles a King!
So on a starry night in rural north Florida, in the midst of broken ornaments and a banished cat from the house, we sang… We sang and remembered the Joy of a tiny babe born in Bethlehem whose star lit up the sky and pointed to a new way, a new path, and a new King!
Joy to the World, The Lord is Come! Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing!
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;
And the government shall be upon His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!
May you have a Blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with Peace…
I Love Being Your Pastor,