It’s been busy! I’ve been playing Christmas music on the harp and I’ve sung carols with my choir at a concert and at the local shopping centre to raise money for the Philippines. Music is for me one of the most important aspects of the lead-up to Christmas. The other special things are the connection with friends and family and the memories of times past. So I share now a window into my childhood Christmases in rural North East Scotland, quite a few years ago ….
When the nights became dark and the stars shone as we returned from school, we began to think about Christmas. The fields would be hard with frost, and a day would come when we’d open the kitchen door and smell the rich spices of Christmas puddings; they’d be bubbling in a pan on the stove, and the windows would stream with condensation. It was around then that my mother would begin her nativity play rehearsals. My striped bedspread would be taken for Joseph’s robe. The angels brought their own sheets, but we’d help my mother make the haloes by twisting tinsel round wire attached an Alice band. The shepherds’ outfits were dressing gowns and checked tea-towels. The Hon. Mrs L, who had lived abroad, provided evening capes from the Far East for the exclusive use of the kings. I recognised her daughter years later at a dinner dance, wearing a shimmering blue cape that my brother had once worn in his role as third king.
My father wrote the scripts for the plays; they did not stray far from the words of the King James Bible, for which he had the greatest respect. We never had a doll for Jesus; that was regarded as inappropriate. The baby was just said to be down there in the manger among all the straw from the nearest farm. Everyone came to church at Christmas, even if they didn’t attend for the rest of the year. Light shone in the darkness, and we were happy.
Enjoy Christmas day, and the memories it brings.