Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Carol Countdown--20 Days to Go

In my home growing up, we only had three Christmas albums--and they were albums! Imagine... today I must have 30 or more CD's of Christmas music! We had the classic Frank Sinatra: Sinatra Christmas Album, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians: Now Is The Caroling Season, and Bing Crosby: Christmas Around the World. To me, Fred Waring and Frank Sinatra ARE Christmas music. Imagine my delight when I found the Frank Sinatra CD about 10 years ago. Then two Christmases ago, I found the Fred Waring album on iTunes.

Today the carol I picked is, first, my favorite Christmas carol: Silent Night. Second, it is from the beloved Frank Sinatra album.

Silent Night became my favorite Christmas carol when my children were very young. It was the first Christmas after my mother died. Christmas was only a couple of weeks away and that week my husband was away on a business trip. I was so lonely and sad. My kids, ages eight, six and four, were in bed. I was watching, for the first time, a movie my mom liked: "Camille."

At the same time, the Relief Society (our church's woman's organization) was having a house to house party that night. Women had donated unique Christmas decorations and three or four houses were chosen to display these items. One of the houses was down the street from me. I had really wanted to go that night, but couldn't afford a babysitter.

At the time, I was not attending church regularly. Trying to make sense of my mother's untimely and early death, I was mystified by God and his influences on earth.

It would have been odd for me to go to this Christmas event, but nonetheless I had wanted to go. I was standing at my kitchen sink when I noticed a string of cars driving down the street. I knew that it was all the women going to the house to see the decorations. I had even donated these very nice, homemade stockings I had made for our family.

I was sitting watching "Camille" when a knock came at my door. Opening the door, I was surprised to see the president of the Relief Society and some other women. The president said they wanted to come down and bring my stockings back and sing a carol for me. I asked for Silent Night.

As these women started singing, I started crying. Many of my bitter feelings were melting away. The Spirit was talking to me. These women didn't know me that well; I didn't come to church much. But here they were on my doorstep singing and I could feel their love.

That night I lay in bed, and sleep didn't come. I was thinking about these women showing up at a time when I needed it so much. I knew that Heavenly Father had sent them to me. I continued thinking about how I had felt about God and the church and I realized that I was very wrong. All that love was there, love from God, love from my "sisters" in the Church, and all I had to do was accept it.

I wish you all the Spirit of Christmas this season. I hope you can feel the love of God in your life, because I know that God loves each and everyone of us in a very personal and caring way.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

My mom would always start singing that popular song, "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" around the beginning of December. It has stuck with me through all these years, and although I don't know most of the words, I always have to hum it when I start seeing Christmas lights on houses.

The weather here in California is cooperating for the beginning of December and the Christmas season. It's been cold, very cold, in fact. We've been getting frost! And now it's rainy. I just hope it's like this on Christmas Day.

I love the Christmas season. The joy, the giving, but mostly children. I had so much fun when my children were little. In the coming days, I'm going to share things that we did when my kids were little.

I really miss my children, and now grandchildren around now. My son and my daughter both live on the East Coast...I only get out there once a year. My newest grandbaby is also on the East Coast. Luckily one family member stayed close, my daughter and my grandson, who is ten.

The advent calendar and the Twelve Days of Christmas have always been heartily celebrated in our family. More details in the days to come! My countdown to Christmas for this blog is going to be sharing some of my favorite carols sung by the artist I think did it best! Music has such a wonderful way of bringing the Spirit of Christmas, the Spirit of Christ, into our lives. We feel the warmth of the spirit and it makes us vow to do more, help more, give more.

Advent Calendar Made by My Mom
for TGS

My first choice for Christmas Carol Countdown is by the Norwegian singer, Sissel. She has a truly incredible voice; it makes you think of angels! A few years back, she was the guest artist on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert. It was the first time I had heard her and I was entranced. The selection today is Angels from the Realms of Glory. And don't be too surprised if Sissel shows up later this month in the carol list.
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