Thursday, December 12, 2013

Joseph and Mary's boy

This year will be our 3rd Christmas without my Papaw.  Boy I miss that man.

I come from farmers.  I grew up on a pig farm.  My aunts and uncles farm.  My papaw farmed.  Some of my favorite memories as a child were spent on his farm....learning to fish, feeding hogs, riding the 4 wheeler, hanging out with cousins and aunts and uncles and he and my mamaw.  After a particularly hard year for farmers in 1985, before our Christmas meal, my aunt said she had a song she'd like to share with all of us. And by all of us, I mean close to 40 of us then....which now looks more like 90 of us.  No exaggeration. A large, loud, loving, German, Catholic, farming family.  We were all quiet and she pressed the button on her tape deck.  This is what we heard.

And in a room full of strong farming men and even stronger women, tears fell.  When it ended, my Papaw with tears in his eyes simply said Amen and laughed his deep chuckle that only he can do and our family all filed in to share our meal together.  The next year we all sang along with it and every year after that. It is one of my greatest childhood memories.

There is no other song that makes me feel Christmas quite like this one.  There is no other song that so fully fills my heart with the love of family as this one.  There is no other song that still makes me cry.  Every single time I hear it.  There are beautiful traditional Christmas songs that I love.  There are many contemoporary Christian Christmas songs that find me in a place of awe over the baby Jesus but this one....this is the spirit of Christmas all wrapped up in 4 minutes.  The appreciation, the celebration, the simplicity, the fact that in the midst of pain and struggle this day brings with it hope, a miraculous display of love. For us.  This song does all of that for me.  If you had been there, if you had known my Papaw, I think it would do the same for you.

May this Christmas be filled with wonderful memories with your family and a true appreciation for the miracle the Christ child is.