Memories of Christmas: Song to celebrate the season
More Walworth County news
For breaking Walworth County news and hourly updates, visit the WalworthCountyToday.com home page throughout the day.
Christmas is a collection of precious memories, says the Rev. David Kalas, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Whitewater. Kalas still recalls the first time he heard “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “O Holy Night” as a child. Dan Plutchak/staff.
Editor's note - Writer Margaret Plevak has found some of the magic of the season, from the carols on the radio and the twinkling lights throughout the neighborhood to the pageants held on elementary school stages.
Each day this week on WalworthCountyToday.com, we'll publish a favorite Christmas Memory from a Walworth County resident. Read all the memories in Walworth County Sunday HERE.
The Rev. David Kalas, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Whitewater: I have this kaleidoscope of Christmas memories, from which it is hard for me to single out just one. I have two recollections from my childhood of the first time I heard — or noticed — two classic songs of the season. I remember an evening church service where we sang “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” And I remember a Christmas party where a bunch of adults were gathered around a piano singing Christmas carols, and then they prevailed upon one particular man to sing “O Holy Night” as a solo. He did. And 40 years later, I still think of him when I hear that song.
I also remember playing the part of a shepherd boy in a Christmas pageant and having to kneel for what seemed like a very long time on what seemed like a very hard stage.
The majority of my memories, however, are not specific, but general — that is, the things that were not part of one particular Christmas, but the things that have been part of every Christmas. And in this regard, my memories are not at all unique to me, for they are memories of carols, decorations, family and an assortment of holiday shows and movies, memories of how the snow looks blue at night, of Christmas pageants, of candles, and of the Nativity scene that we always had prominently displayed in our home.
Truth be told, I believe it is those general memories of Christmas that make this holiday season so precious — and so poignant — for us. The layers of years, one upon another, each new one resonating more deeply within us because it echoes the traditions of so many years before.
Finally, I think that Christmas evokes within us a certain longing, and as we age we sometimes wonder just what it is we’re longing for. It’s not really the presents. Is it the Christmas tree? Is it grandma’s house? Is it childhood? We find that we long for something which cannot ultimately be traced to any single memory or tradition. For wrapped up intrinsically within the season is the promise of “good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people,” and all people have an innate longing and need for that.
Read other memories of Christmas from local residents in the Dec. 19, 2010 e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.