A few days ago, I had the opportunity to play the piano at a Christmas party. The setting was a large hall at the Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain. My task: to play Christmas music quietly in the background for a dinner.
It was delightful work, in a festive setting. I play a lot at holiday time, but typically not alone or in such a beautiful spot. Playing solo, the music I love, at the piano, in this setting was magical and refreshing! it was just what I needed in the middle of a week filled with Christmas preparations and busyness.
One of the best things about a solo gig, is you get to choose the music – and I chose a few favorites. In particular, I selected one sentimental song from an old Carpenter’s Christmas album “Merry Christmas, Darling.” I’ve listened to it many times over the years – and it has always warmed my heart. It brings back memories…
At Christmas time, 1979, I was a 4 year old flower girl in a very special wedding. Two people who have meant the world to me were married – My Uncle Harvey and my Aunt Sharon. These two gave me many many gifts, that began that day when they were married. My love of music and all things piano (from my Aunt Sharon), and a good sense of humor and laughter (from my Uncle Harvey). Not to mention, I heard “Merry Christmas, Darling” for the first time on an old record player at their house.
But, on that day, at that wedding – I had no idea they would give such gifts to me that would make me who I am now. No. Back then, I only knew I got to dress up in a very special dress and throw a few flower petals down the aisle. At the reception, I sat on Aunt Mary’s lap and giggled a lot. I recall great disappointment when I discovered that Canadian wedding cake was a little rectangle of fruit cake with almond icing on top.
As I sat at the Fairyland Club’s Steinway last week and began to play that favorite Christmas song, I was struck by how much that hall resembled the place where my Uncle Harvey and Aunt Sharon celebrated their wedding reception. At least, it did in my 4 yr old mind’s eye. The warmth of a large stone fireplace, and the ambience of love and laughter… My eyes misted over at the fond and loving memories that I have of them and the life and love they shared.
There is no better gift at Christmas time, or any other time, than the gift of love. How could I know all of those years ago, that my Aunt and Uncle would give me such a gift in their example of loving Jesus, loving each other, their family, good music and hearty laughter! Those gifts remain a very distinct part of the fabric of who I am as a wife, mother and musician.
Yes, that night last week I was grateful to hide in the corner, where people could hear me, but not see my tears as I played. (I was so thankful for the beverage napkin sitting under my water glass, which I used to dab up a streak or two of mascara) I miss my family a lot at holiday times because we live so far from many of them. But, this year I especially miss my dear Uncle Harvey who is spending his first Christmas in Heaven; however I’m pretty sure he’s enjoying Heaven, playing his trumpet and worshiping our Savior.
That night, I played a few songs, thinking of my Aunt Sharon as I reminisced. How I wish you could have celebrated Christmas with Uncle Harvey this year! But we know- you won’t be separated forever! Jesus came as a babe, gave His life and lives so that we can live confidently in this truth! And that is the greatest, most hopeful and loving gift of all!