Christmas of the Souls

by Mark on December 20, 2010

I love Christmas carols, but every time Adestes Fideles is played, a few tears comes to my eyes. My Dad used to sing it, off key, at the top of his lungs, during midnight mass. He died thirty-seven years ago, but that voice and his passion remain real. Christmas is a celebration of new life. Christmas magnifies who left us.

This year my sister lost her son. My best friend held her sister’s hand at the end. A few days ago my oldest friend buried her mom. My aunt and uncle mourn their daughter. As Christmas races toward them, they push forward through the giant holiday maelstrom, hoping to survive it.

Many of us faced sad holidays. We also know these seasons will eventually mend us. Definitely not the first Christmas, and perhaps not the second, but ultimately the joyous memories of the holiday souls soothe us.

My Dad was born on Christmas Eve. He facetiously insisted that it was the worst day for a birthday. Dad claimed he received fewer total presents than those born on other days. Of course this whining brought more gifts. It took a couple of Christmas Eves after he died to chuckle about it, but now the memory is now part of the celebration.

This year so many close relatives and friends are struggling with the yuletide lights, sounds, and laughter. I pray for them. Somewhere in the future a memory will lite a tree. A story will electrify the sounds and laughter.

Christmas celebrates the living. Christmas resurrects the souls. It is this blend of memories and this moment that truly brings us joy. My Dad understood it when he bellowed,

Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan Zeller Bonin December 20, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Mark, beautiful prose, thank you for writing this lovely passage. It brought words to my feelings.

Your Dad and mine were likely in the choir together and my Dads beautiful baritone voice singing Ave Marie at midnight mass will forever be heard in my minds ear, a little girl nestled in her mother’s lap under the colored glass of the nativity window.

Beautiful Christmas memories…a smile and a tear.

Merry Christmas,


teresa Zeller Miller December 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Mark, Since you were my sister Joan’s age I probably didn’t pay any attention to you :-))
However I do remember the choir and my Dad singing and Connie Bishop’s Mom too Our Mom was born on Christmas Day so I’m sure she would have empathized with your Dad too; actually I remember her giving the same claim to presents as your Dad. 🙂
The old memories are the best of all.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Terry

Mary Zeller Grosenbacher December 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

I think my sisters said it all about the way I feel. Thank you so very much for your wonderful writings. They bring back so many memories of our childhood. Many people only came to Midnight Mass to hear our father sing a solo of Ave Maria. Such a beautiful sweet voice-well a booming baritone voice that astounded us all. You and Joan are both such talented artists. I am humbled by both of you. Mary

Lynn Maxim December 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. All of us are missing someone, while trying to enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of this blessed time of year.Nice to know we are not alone.

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