A Sabbath Christmas
In honor of Christmas, enjoy one of my favorite songs my mom and her sisters used to sing. (Obviously, this isn’t a recording of them, but Bing Crosby sang it pretty well, too.)
Many people attend church only for Christmas. In contrast, many of us Mormons attend church every week—or even more often, if you count midweek service projects, socials, educational activities, and church ball. (Personally. I wouldn’t count church ball as church attendance, but technically, it is located at church.)
In fact, we Mormons are probably less likely to attend church on Christmas than any other day of the year. So, what to do when Christmas happens to fall on Sunday, like this year?
Acknowledging that we Mormons just aren’t accustomed to spending Christmas at church, my local stake is abbreviating church on Christmas day to a one-hour service. Additionally, several members of my ward choir are going to visit a local nursing home on Christmas day to sing a few carols for a half hour before the church meeting begins.
This plan brings back warm memories for me. When I was a child, my talented mom and her four equally talented sisters had a little performing group that kept all of us busy during the Christmas season. I loved tagging along with them, both because I enjoyed the performances and because I liked the Christmas festivals where they performed.
But one of my most vivid memories of those days was a performance at a much less festive location. My mom and her sisters arranged to sing at my grandfather’s nursing home one December. The thing is, he wasn’t there. He had died about a month earlier.
I wasn’t thrilled about attending this performance. It brought back memories of the last time I was there. Just before his death, my Granddad seemed to have shrunk. He looked skinny and weak and miserable. I am not sure he recognized me, but he seemed concerned about how sad I was, so with obvious difficulty, he reached out his emaciated arm to hold my hand and comfort me.
When my mom and my aunts sang at that nursing home, I realized that they were also reaching out to those that needed comfort. Now that I was there, I recalled how often the staff at the home had mentioned to us how nice it was that my Granddad had such a steady stream of visitors—commenting that many of their other residents were not so fortunate. My relatives were lucky to inherit my Granddad’s musical talents, but that day, I was more grateful that they shared his compassion.