Childhood, Christmas, and O Holy Night!

When it comes to family, friends, and memories, Christmas can be a time of roller coaster emotions. I was fortunate to have a happy childhood. When we were little, no one wanted the latest electronics, but a toboggan, a new dress for school, or a transistor radio. Those were days when we were more content with little.

But as years go by and family members slip away, first the great grandparents, then grandparents, and parents, those memories become bittersweet. We recognize that having children and grandchildren of your own, bring new blessings, and joy and there’s the rub. There’s the happy and sad of Christmas.


It’s exciting when a child sees anything new for the first time. Eyes are open wide, eager to learn, and eager to try new things. A child knows nothing of failure, but finds dreams and goals most fascinating. A child has so many dreams swirling around in his head that he could fill a million books.


And don’t we love to be around children? Wide open excitement: they feel free, and life is a big wide-open space.


Last week the Umpire and I went to the Binghamton Philharmonic and heard glorious music, one written three hundred years ago…and all to the Glory of God.


The Downtown singing group sang Christmas hymns, and a soloist raised goose bumps with the traditional haunting song: O Holy Night!



O holy night! 

The stars are brightly shining 

It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices 

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!



Fall on your knees 

O hear the angel voices 

O night divine 

O night when Christ was born 

O night divine 

O night,

O night divine


Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming 

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand 

So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming 

Here come the wise men from Orient land 

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger 

In all our trials born to be our friend.




Truly He taught us to love one another 

His law is love and His gospel is peace 

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother 

And in His name all oppression shall cease 

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 

Let all within us praise His holy name.


When my brother and I were very little, I remember a Christmas when my mother brought home a vinyl recording she had made in a studio in Binghamton. We listened eagerly as we heard her familiar soprano voice sing, O Holy Night.

Painted by a young woman in our church


On the other side was a recording of an interview studio director and the soloist, our mother. I remember marveling that her voice—our mother was recorded on a vinyl record! In the interview she talked of her family and her two little children. The feeling of child-like awe is still with me.


mom, me
Our Mom






When our mother passed away and we cleared out her apartment, no one found that vinyl that I had seen many times through the years, but it doesn’t take away the memories of that song, or the memories of our mother always singing. She sang as naturally as she breathed. It wasn’t just singing—it was feeling the song into life. That’s the way she sang.


At Christmas time, she sang around the house, with or without the radio. She sang in the car as Dad drove us to Christmas with the grandparents. But out of all the Christmas songs she sang, O Holy Night affects me in a most powerful way.


I was in Barnes & Noble last week and on a table I saw the return of the vinyl record. There sat a new vinyl of the Beatles. I heard it was coming…the return. As we put up with the new electronics that come our way, we change from the vinyl to tapes, to CDs and return to the vinyl. It’s reliving history.


But nothing changes with Christ.


That blessed night when Christ gave up his privilege to live in heaven, to come as a child to earth for us, was that holy night.


I’m reading Revelation and all will be fulfilled that was planned in the very beginning. Long before earth was created, and man set on earth to be the guardian, God made his plan and has forever set out to accomplish it.

The Babe was the center point, the focus, and who witnessed it?

A few shepherds were privileged to see the Lamb of God.


At the very end of Revelation, he speaks important words to us…

“Yes, I am coming soon.

Amen, come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”

Rev. 22:20,21 NIV


“Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”
John 1:29


May you share the news with others and have a blessed Christmas!






10 thoughts on “Childhood, Christmas, and O Holy Night!

  1. Julie

    I’m so sad I never heard that record-or at least I was too young to remember. I DO remember mom singing all the time, though. The was a constant in our lives!

  2. Heather MacLaren

    Diane! Oh, your words—your heart—your childhood photos—sooo beautiful! I LOVE the photo of you kids on the sled! I also am reading Revelation this Christmas! I love Revelation—one of my favorite books because it is filled with such HOPE, especially as times grow dark and evil appears to be gaining ground. Our Savior is coming again! Lord of lords and King of Kings! THANK YOU for sharing your gift of words! Oh, I cannot figure out how to leave a comment on your blog page. Help?



    P.S. Bear with me! Your mailing is coming!

  3. Hi…happy to be your neighbor at Holly’s today. Christmas is a great time to reflect on all the best parts of joy and happiness and like you, I’m so blessed that while everything around us seems to be moving at ever increasing speeds, Christ never changes. Blessings to you!

  4. Patty (Riley) Brake

    Dear Diane,
    I’m just a little behind on my emails. Anyway, I finally had a chance to read this blog of yours today. Oh, how wonderful to see the pictures of your mom taken some time ago! She sure was a special lady! I don’t remember her singing at First Baptist of Newark Valley, unfortunately. That is so neat that she was able to have a record made of her singing. I’m finding more and more that holidays are a time of mixed emotions. We were so very thankful to have our three daughters, their husbands, and our grandchildren together this year after having our youngest and her family on the mission field in Madagascar for the past 2-1/2 years! It was SO special to have everyone together again! Thanks for sharing your feelings and memories in this blog! I love the way you call Sherm ‘the umpire’!!

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