Cherished “Christmas of my Childhood” Memories

We always met at our grade school on an often snowy Christmas Eve, anticipating the gifts back home that we knew we would receive.

But thoughts, really, were on the Lord Jesus and the amazing story, that we would be telling of God sending us His Son amidst angelic glory.

We each had a part we had practiced for the yearly Christmas Eve service–those who may have had a bigger role were sometimes a little bit nervous.

The atmosphere was one of warmth, though, but so respectful of the divine–at my church very many years ago, these Christmas memories of mine.

We stepped outside the school and crossed over the connecting street, to the large decorated church sanctuary where everyone would meet.

To us children, the lights and nativity were always greatly impressive. Beautifully-ornamented, tall Christmas trees made the night so festive.

Boys wearing new suits and ties and the girls in fine dresses sewn, began to sing the great Christmas carols, backed by the organ’s deep tone.

Often a solo was sung–one of the most endearing was “O Holy Night,” which spoke of the guiding star and its sweetly gleaming light.

This song told of the wise men who came from a distant Orient land, and how we were meant to love each other, as God had always planned.

“The weary world rejoices” were words that carol would recall, and that Jesus Christ had been born to us in a lowly manger stall.

“His law is love and His gospel is peace.” I remember the song so well, along with the serenity felt, as we heard the old church steeple bell.

Some of the children had the roles of shepherds or of the wise men to play. Of course, there were Mary and Joseph by the Baby in the hay.

We were depicting the humble place where that great King had arrived–the Giver of everything good in life that could ever be wanted or derived.

“Joy to the World” was sung with robust joy to the pipe organ music’s final beats, after which we returned to our classrooms for sacks of nuts and other treats.

Heading home in the car with our families to continue the Christmas Eve fest, we knew it was because of Jesus, that our lives were truly blessed.

Perhaps this reminds of your own childhood. If not, come now to join in its peace; God wants you in His family forever, to abide in His love that will never cease.

P. A. Oltrogge

O Holy Night

The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices,
O night divine, O night when Christ was born,
O night divine, O night, O night divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
with glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
in all our trials, born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger;
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother;
and in His Name, all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
let all within us praise His holy Name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever;
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
O night divine, O night, O night divine!

(music by Adolphe Adam
words by Placide Cappeau)

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