December 24th, 2007
It seems like Christmas started on Saturday this year. We had a nice snowfall, with a not-so-nice 40MPH wind accompanying it. We got drifts, and had whiteout conditions outdoors for a little while.
Sunday morning came and I went out early to see if we’d be able to get the car down our driveway. At about 1/4 mile long, shoveling the whole thing is not a practical option. Fortunately, I got most of the way down the driveway before the car got stuck, so I only had to shovel a little bit.
Sunday was our big Christmas choir day in church. We started off with Star of the East, and old Christmas tune. Research into the church archives revealed that it was first performed by the adult choir in the 1930s — and it was sung in English. Mrs. H. F. Voth was quoted as saying “they sang from the heart and meant it sincerely.” It was fun to sing this old song.
Later on, the whole church sang Oh, beautiful star of Bethlehem, another old tune that isn’t heard so often anymore. One of the older people in church told me later that song was special to her because she remembered carolers singing it at her house years ago.
The service ended with Nun Ist Sie Erschienen (score, mp3, story), a tune sung in our community for many years. I fondly remember my grandpa playing this song on his harmonica. Maybe it’s just stuck in my head for some reason, but it seems it was one of his favorites. This particular day, the pianist — who was my band teacher when I was in school and is now retired — improvised a beautiful accompaniment to the song. We sang it four times: twice in German, and twice in English. One of the older women in the congregation, whom I normally can’t hear because she sits in front of me and down the row in choir, was singing with such strength that I could hear her clearly from my seat.
Moments like that bring home the timeless nature of Christmas to me.