Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Oh Not-so-Holy Night
That same year my wife was directing the choir—or trying to. The Choir had no robes and so we thought it would be great to get those “Sing and Sew” outfits and let the Choir make their own robes. They were so proud of their efforts and so that same oval-shaped Christmas, the Choir would wear their robes for the first time. My wife had instructed the women not to wear long dangly earrings or necklaces because they would take away from the robes. So that Sunday morning they marched by the beginning-to-sag wreath and sure enough the women had obeyed my wife’s order about the jewelry. But nobody had mentioned hats. And robed Thelma marched in with the biggest fuscia hat you’ve ever seen. Young and foolish, I was in a snit that Christmas. Looking back I think Jesus just might have approved of our efforts.
I could write a whole chapter on Advent wreaths. No liturgists that I know of have written a piece on “How to Make Sure You Get Candles that will Light.” I don’t know how many years one and sometimes more of the candles just would not light. The most heart-breaking Christmas Eve was the year a family came down the darkened aisle at the beginning of the service with a lighted candle. They had been selected to light the Advent wreath as the choir snag softly in the balcony: “This Little Light of Mine.” All went well until the daughter was given the candle to light the wreath. It didn’t work. She tried and tried. Her parents whispered to each other and then to her. She tried again. Finally in desperation she blew out the candle, threw it on the floor, said a loud, “Damn” and stalked off as her family still stood at the front. How’s that for openers on Christmas Eve?
One year we put candles down all the aisles and as one man started to move from the pew to the front to take Communion he knocked over the candled and it fell to the floor and he stomped and stomped until he put it out.