There are certain things we learn in childhood that carry over to adulthood. I was raised in a household where regular church attendance was expected. The church service and the hymns are impressed in my memory.
I remember practicing for the Christmas Pageant every year. At the time, all the girls were angels. One got to be Mary. The boys were shepherds or wise men. One got to be Joseph (but nobody really wanted that job). I used to really like wearing the white outfits with wings. There was a trick to sitting in those pews with the stiff wings we wore every year.
The Christmas story was the same every year… “It came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled….” I could and can recite it word for word. Of course, we don’t use the King James Version of the Bible any more.
All those old churches have wonderful pipe organs. They are built so that the music surrounds you when the organist plays. If you sing in the choir, you usually are positioned near the organ, so you get to feel the vibrations through the floor. The music is not just something you hear, but something you feel.
I started singing in the choir when I was seven. I still do. There’s nothing like the feeling of the organ music and a group of singers tuned together singing music that we all have worked hard to learn the harmonies for.
Of course, in a big Lutheran church, there are many folks who have learned those harmonies. You can sit in the congregation and hear the harmonies on the old familiar hymns. None are more familiar than those we sing at Christmas. We end our service Christmas Eve with the congregation singing Silent Night by candle light. This year Tall Guy and Three Speed will be the ones who are putting out the candles. Mr. Lasermed will be playing the organ. Mr. Impatient and I will be sitting in the front row by the organ, singing.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace.