By Susan Parcheta
“In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas…”
The song was playing Thanksgiving weekend on a radio station that seems to have a tradition of playing Christmas music for weeks ahead. I happened on the station accidentally one day, way before Thanksgiving. Then that weekend, this one captured my thoughts.
While the words kept playing in my head, I began also to wonder why they strike our imagination. What is the feeling of Christmas, anyway?
What is the power in these words? Why do I STOP what I’m doing when I hear them? And why do I feel like dancing?!
Could be I grew up listening to Bing Crosby sing “Silver Bells”; could be all the Christmas memories traversing down the years in that moment; or maybe it’s the warmth and love the music and lyrics express.
“Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile…”
When I stepped outside that day, I knew the feeling must be in the air, as carload after carload of folks heading to and from the neighborhood Christmas tree farm buzzed down the road. Just seeing a Christmas tree tied on the top of a car warms up the heart like a hot cup of Christmas cheer.
Memories: of many Christmases past, friends gathering by tradition to go cut the tree. The gathering tradition continues, albeit without the children and without the tree cutting fun. Then, I remember the line from a greeting card that always stayed with me: “How dear to me the memory of bringing home the Christmas tree.”
I decide to look it up and see who the author might be. I’m sure it’s a famous quote, although the author isn’t turning up. But wait! I can’t believe my eyes. My favorite greeting card shows up online being auctioned off for $10, that’s right, $10. I’m sure I still have a copy or two for sentimental reasons – from back in the time when we used to send cards. I’ve good intentions this year, hoping to refrain from waiting until Valentine’s Day or Easter to get my sentiments out to those I love, as those I love know I’m prone to do.
Yes, that line is there. Someone bought the card with the little child in the red coat, trudging through the snow in the dusky glow of twilight, hauling the family tree past the snow-covered pines toward the beautiful white farmhouse.
Christmases past: Just looking at that card gives me the feeling of Christmas. I still have that Hallmark; and I always set my favorites out during the holidays, along with the new ones that come. The image of the little child hauling the tree home stays with me.
“When you are quite dressed, You’ll stand in the window for everyone to see, And how they'll stare, Oh but you will be very proud, And my little sister and I will take hands, And looking at our beautiful tree, We’ll dance and sing.” ~E.E. Cummings
And now, I do think of children dancing, laughing, singing. Only, it’s not my children I hear, it is children of the next generation. I’m smiling, scrolling down my Facebook postings and find the beautiful post of one of my son’s best friends from those days of cutting down the Christmas tree. I wonder if they are beginning their own tradition; I know the memory will always live in their hearts.
So, it makes me smile to see the post that goes something like this: “I love Christmas! The Christmas tree is up, the stockings are hung, and there are presents under the tree.” And the joy of it all? It happens to be baby’s first Christmas.
Yes, the feeling of Christmas is in the air. It’s in the Facebook messages of friends, in special events and services we attend. It’s in the new traditions we find ourselves enjoying with friends, such as the second annual Advent Tea this year at Grace Lutheran Church in Howell, MI. The true feeling of Christmas was in the air, in the haunting, angelic tones of young singer, Oliver Bloomer who, in concert weaved a musical Christmas spell.
Carols of Christmas: Ave Maria, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, In the Bleak Mid-Winter, Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, O’ Holy Night.
“Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” ~Augusta E. Rundel
“In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.” There’s the magic, the solemnity, the festive frivolity, the reverence, the memories, the love. As we mark the Advent of the Christmas season, I’ll open my favorite card to the inside…sending blessings and "Wishing you happy holiday times to cherish and remember."