Christmas Day, following Mass, Jen, Bill and I went to Bec’s house to begin our Christmas celebration. Her family had just finished opening presents, and Erik and his group were leaving to start preparations for the Christmas feast we were eating at their house later that day.
We drank mimosas and watched Bec prepare the food she was contributing to the meal. Afterwards, one of us — it might have been me — suggested we gather around the piano and sing Christmas carols. And so the four of us, with Bec accompanying us at the piano, sang Christmas carol after Christmas carol. There was much variety, from Silver Bells, to Joy to the World, We concluded with Silent Night, which always makes me cry.
I come from a family of singers. Don’t get me wrong; you didn’t hear me say I come from a family of GREAT singers. But we can all mostly carry a tune and read music. And we all like to sing. Both sides of my family are music lovers. A cousin on one side is a brilliant pianist. A cousin on the other side sings like a songbird, and sang at my father’s funeral. As for our family, we hold our own. Bec plays a decent piano and she, Jen and I can carry a tune. As for Bill, he has a really nice baritone voice, and despite being 78 years old, he sings completely on key. Mostly what I can tell you is that for what we lacked in talent, we more than made up for in enthusiam.
My family of origin didn’t routinely sing together, but we did at Christmastime. At least once or twice during the holiday season, we would gather around the piano, with Bec tickling the ivories, and sing Christmas carols. Silver Bells was our favorite. When the four of us sang Silver Bells this past Christmas Day, I heard my mother’s voice in my ear. Ding dong ding dong ding dong (she always filled in the sound of the bells).
A couple of days later, Bec was out in her front yard. She heard someone hollar Hello! She looked up and saw a man from across the street that she scarcely knew calling to her. “I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed hearing you singing Christmas carols the other day.” He went on, “In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I went and got my wife and we listened to the rest of the singing together.”
That, my friends, made me smile. Furthermore, it wasn’t Elmer and Rosemary Huffenfeffer from Podunk, Nebraska, relaying his Christmas joy. It was a man about the age of our children who was enjoying the holiday spirit.
Maybe 2020 wasn’t a total loss after all.