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Day 8 – Tuesday, Dec 12

I always looked forward to Christmas.  The house was decorated, so much baking was done, snow fell, visit with family, and presents were under the tree.  Before presents were opened, we read the Christmas story.  But it was not until the Christmas I became engaged to my wife that I experienced my first Musical Christmas.

My in-laws would not purchase a Christmas tree.  Instead, my mother-in-law would set up a Bethlehem display in their large picture window.  She would set up boxes and cover them with crumpled-up brown shipping paper and color part of some of them green.  She would then place different figures in her display—shepherds, wise men, camels, and sheep, and at the center, she would put the crèche with Mary and Joseph, but no baby Jesus.  Puzzling to me, but later I discovered why.

My in-laws celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve afternoon so they could attend midnight mass.  After eating and playing games with the children, my mother-in-law would get out the sheet music of a Christmas cantata and hand it to the participants (not me and 2 of the other sons-in-law—we couldn’t carry a tune in a basket).  They would sing a beautiful cantata of the Christmas story with each person singing glory to God and the gift of His Son.  The grandchildren, in addition to singing, would bring their musical instruments and play them when instructed to do so—violins, violas, guitars, piano, flute, and several others.

After the singing of the cantata, my mother-in-law would bring out baby Jesus.  The youngest grandchild (they had 27) would carry baby Jesus to the crèche, with the whole family forming two lines and the grandchild walking between the lines.  While the grandchild carried baby Jesus, we all would sing Happy Birthday Jesus.  Then presents could be opened.  Worship first, then presents.

This and every Christmas, give worship to our Heavenly Father for the supreme gift of His ONE and ONLY Son—Isa. 9:6; John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Merv Wagner, Executive Director of Advancement