Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I went to Lutheran school. We began our day with prayer,the pledge to the Flag and memory work. My first Bible verse was "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Our studies began with the Blue Bible Story Book. How I loved the paintings in that book... religious paintings of creation, Abraham, the Flood, the crucifiction..resurrection..etc. When we got older, say past 3rd grade, we got a new... Red Bible story book that went into greater detail about the Bible.
We prayed before lunch and before going home.Every year the school put on a nativity pageant on Christmas Eve. The little kids were always angels. We wore white gowns with gold garland wraped around our heads like halos...and we had golden clip on wings. The upper grades were shepards and Kings and the lucky kids got to be The Angel and Mary and Joseph (Jesus was a doll).
It was a big deal. The angels were also the choir. We practiced and practiced until it was perfect.We also had Advent services every Thursday night in December to get us ready for Christmas. On Christmas Eve we arrived at church early to put on our costumes...the church basement was all a buzz with excitement. Back them moms and dads and grandparents and aunts and uncles got dressed up for church.
Everyone looked so special. The church put up real 12ft trees...decorated with giant glass ornaments and real tinsel and lights. It was magical. Being part of the heavenly choir is one of my life's greatest experiences of the heart. When we filled the church aisles our breath was taken away by the huge Christmas trees. The organist was playing the songs on full throtle. The nativity became so real to us kids. It really touched us being part of the telling of the story. After the service we all went back down to the church basement to change our clothes and to pick up our gift from the church ladies...a brown paper bag filled with Braches chocolate stars. Candy was a treat for us back then...so this got our sails opened for the gifts we knew would be waiting for us back home.
When I was in eighth grade we got a new kind of teacher who introduced new kind of music and he wrote a nativity play. I got to play Eve and Mary. He brought in the promise of the Savior from Genesis. But I have to tell you..it was more like a play to me with his words and music...beautiful as they were. I liked the simple story read straight out of the Bible. But it was the 60's and everybody thought they had better ideas. They didn't.
One Christmas Eve,when I was small, my dad dropped us off at church. I don't remember why my parents weren't at church. But after church he told us to walk down to the corner and to wait for him to pick us up. My brother, Larry, and I were little...we were so excited as we walked to the corner with our bags of loot..all bundled up in our coats and hats and gloves. I remember it was a very cold clear night. We were 18 months apart in age...but miles apart in our thinking. That night we both scoured the sky. He for Santa's sleigh...me for the Star of Bethlehem.
We both saw what we were looking for.
Magic I tell you...magic.