December: Voices, Memories, and Giving

December: Voices, Memories, and Giving

“It’s coming on Christmas.”

The voice may be tenor or soprano. The music may be folk, modern or classical. Whatever your choice, it now begins—Christmas music reemerges as we celebrate the season in sound. We hum, sing along. My husband and I move from Diana Krall and Bill Evans, to the Robert Shaw Choral, Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas, James Taylor’s Christmas songs. Everywhere, there’s wonderful variety, music becoming the focus of family get-togethers, school celebrations and church events. Music is tradition. Music is memory.

REPETITION AND REMEMBRANCE or “GET UP ON YOUR FEET”

What song do you look forward to singing? Do you play old records or click on Spotify? Some of you might be part of a church choir—but with Covid, you might be forced to abandon practices. But you can always sing to your Christmas tree,  remember the songs that make you joyful for your beliefs.

Music captivated my younger brother in his teens, became his lifelong career and passion, so at Christmas, his Christmas Dreams collection is a favorite. He and my son will grab guitars, play, sing, fill the house with sounds of the season—and they’re always open to requests–grandchildren, cousins, everyone dancing. Be joyful, move your body—that’s all that’s required. Got a new move? Share it, for the holidays are always about health and new life, about blotting out the darkness that pervaded much of the world, about lighting candles, fires, and gathering people together to share food, drink and love. ( But honor your host regarding what you can bring to a celebration and do make sure you are vaccinated.)

DECEMBER: A TIME FOR EVERYONE 

The very existence of the Christmas season will always be connected to new life, the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also about memories, the cranberry bread you make every year. The lights you hang on shrubbery, trees and doorways to light up your surrounding world. The warm room, maybe a fireplace burning and always a hug or words of caring for those who come through your door. Just think: even though Australia and countries on the other side of the equator are unpacking their summer clothes—it’s still “coming on Christmas.”

And yet there are shadows that even a brightly lit world cannot dispel. Maybe this is your first Christmas without a parent, a spouse, your closest friend. This is a Christmas where your time will be spent visiting your son in rehab or remembering to take medication for a recently developed condition. Some of you will travel to rejoice with family and friends, or to mourn with them.  But we humans keep going, healthy, struggling, joyful or sorrowful, we keep on…

MORE VOICES…

Chris Erskine, in his column a few years back, reminded his daughter: “Everybody is someone.” That statement is always true, but during this season when emotions are heightened, memories can hang over one’s day like a dark cloud–instead of mistletoe. It’s best to remember to care for or smile at those you meet. And you could ask yourself, do I really need “another ornament” for the overloaded tree? I know I don’t, remembering that my mailbox has been full of organizations asking for help. Write that check, mail it today. 

So whatever your December brings you, I hope you will experience contentedness, the desire to reach out to others. After all, the season is only beginning, plenty of time to be grateful, to make Santa Claus come alive and for a child. Thanks for reading.

Artwork: thanks to Nancy Haley nancyhaleyfineart.com

This is an older post that has been edited.

December: Voices, Memories, and Giving

December: Voices, Memories, and Giving

“It’s coming on Christmas.”

The voice may be tenor or soprano. The music may be folk, modern or classical. Whatever your choice,  it now begins—Christmas music reemerges as we celebrate the season in sound. We hum, sing along. My husband and I move from Diana Krall and Bill Evans, to the Robert Shaw Choral, Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas and Amahl and the Night Visitors. Everywhere, there’s wonderful variety, music becoming the focus of family parties, school celebrations and church events. Music is tradition. Music is memory.

REPETITION AND REMEMBRANCE or “GET ON YOUR FEET”

What song do you look forward to singing? Do you play old records or click on Spotify? Some of you might be part of a church choir—your practice sessions now increasing as the pace of the season heats up.

Music captured my younger brother in his teens, became his lifelong career and passion, so at Christmas, his Christmas Dreams collection is a favorite. He and my son will grab guitars, play, sing, fill the house with sounds of the season—and they’re always open to requests–grandchildren, cousins, everyone dancing. Be joyful, move your body—that’s all that’s required. Got a new move? Share it, for Christmas from the beginning was about new life, about blotting out the darkness that pervaded much of the world, about lighting candles, fires, and gathering people together to share food, drink and love.

DECEMBER: A TIME FOR EVERYONE 

The very existence of Christmas, of celebration will always be connected to new life, the birth of Jesus Christ. Echoing that, new life is the cranberry bread you make every year and share with teachers and neighbors. It’s the lights you hang on shrubbery, trees and doorways to light up your surrounding world. It’s a warm room, maybe a fireplace burning and always a hug for those who come through your door. Just think: even though Australia and countries on the other side of the equator are unpacking their summer clothes—it’s still “coming on Christmas.”

And yet, there are always shadows that even a brightly lit world cannot dispel. This is your first Christmas without a parent, a spouse, your closest friend. This is a Christmas where your time will be spent visiting your son in rehab or remembering to take medication for a recently developed condition. Some of you will travel to rejoice with family and friends, or to mourn with them. I often chuckle when remembering a phone conversation with my dear mother. She was getting ready for a trip, called to tell me she’d had a good day—she had all of her medications packed. Ah yes! Anybody able to relate?

MORE VOICES…

Chris Erskine, in his column this week, reminded his daughter: “Everybody’s someone.” That statement is always true, but during this season when emotions become heightened, memories can hang over a day like a dark cloud instead of mistletoe. So please remember that. Right at this moment, my husband is delivering poinsettias to folks who purchased them to help support his efforts with the homeless. You could ask yourself, do I really need “another ornament” for the overloaded tree? I know I don’t, remembering that my mailbox has been full of organizations asking for help. And there’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s Kids In Need of Desks, KIND, sponsored to help school children in Malawi have desks to write on at their schools.

Whatever your December brings to you, I hope you will experience joy, contentedness and a desire to reach out to others. After all, the season is only beginning and though I don’t know about you, I haven’t put up my tree yet!

Artwork: thanks to Nancy Haley nancyhaleyfineart.com

P.S. I want to thank you for reading and commenting. I now use MAIL CHIMP to get these posts to you. So, Gmail users, to make sure you are getting my posts in your PRIMARY MAIL and not PROMOTIONS, the next time you get my post, if it is in PROMOTIONS, just pull the notice into PRIMARY and all future posts should be delivered to PRIMARY. Problems, please let me know. Thanks, Beth954adf7c518817f43be47c2fd06b3875d25e72a32465e42fa9

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