A Christmas Carol for Mom

This story is an example, rather than a follow on, of one I wrote. Two weeks ago I posted a paper from my college course concerning my model of God.  Based on my experiences in my personal relationship with God and what He is allowed me to learn through my life I wrote of how my perceptions of God correlate to the laws of resonance and what resonance means in relation to energy.  Here is the story;

Heather is an administrative employee at the nursing home where my mother-in-law has resided for two years.  This is her second Christmas season in the home.  The home gets a visit from many people during this time of year.  All sorts of entertainment volunteers at the home this time of year.  I was thinking of something more family oriented, though.

We have enjoyed Christmas caroling together for as long as I can remember.  Both our families grew up with music and singing and Christmas brings out a great reason for celebrating through song.  Joining my wife’s family, I found her mother played the piano, a baby grand in the front room of their home.  One of her aunts and one grandmother had pianos as well.  The other grandmother played an organ in her front room.  Singing made the houses resound happily.  That resonance of music I wanted to share with my mother-in-law just a bit, for just a little while this Christmas season, this Advent.  I had not mentioned this to my wife or my father-in-law, but I would check with them when I walked into the room before we began singing.

Earlier in the day, I stopped by my own mother’s house.  She holds a Christmas party for us every year and as part of that party we go caroling in her neighborhood.  The songs we sing come out of a small four-by-five inch booklet my Dad had brought home in the 1970’s from his office.  His company printed them as gift handouts for the salesmen to share with clients.  How they stayed in any good shape over the last forty years is a science experiment of its own.  My purpose in stopping by was to pick one up and reprint it, making the copy a bit bigger and easier to read.  I told Mom I just could not read the small print anymore and in the dark, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone else.  “No problem” she said, “Your sister made these full page books up a couple years ago.”

Off I went with two copies of music, one meant for toting about the streets and another that was better suited for on a piano’s music stand.  The family wasn’t gathered in mom’s room when I arrived though.  I was befuddled at first, and then I remembered last week the conversation about wheeling mom in her chair around to see the decorations set up in the home.  I walked around into the next wing to find my wife and her parents listening to a pianist play holiday tunes, encouraging everyone to sing along.  I walked in and joined with them.

The pianist asked if there were any requests and one of the patients asked that ‘It Came Upon A Midnight Clear’ be played.  The pianist apologized and made the comment he would need the music for that song.  I presumed he didn’t have any with him but was playing from a very good memory and skill.  I left the room to recover the sheet music I had unexpectedly picked up from my Mom’s house.  Returning to the room I handed the packet to the pianist’s wife, Heather, offering them if he was interested is using the music.  The pianist agreed heartily.

We sang ‘It Came Upon A Midnight Clear’ and many other carols.  The original requesting patient was smiling broadly.  Heather, to my left, and my wife, to my right, broke into alto harmonies as we continued.  We began exercising our choral training and each adjusted their volume and tone to the others naturally.  My mother-in-law, stricken almost entirely with Parkinson’s, turned her head in the wheel chair headrest to look in our direction.  She was hearing the music!

The afternoon was more a gift then I ever imagined.  Some, (ok), many would call it coincidence.  The prevalence of singing in nursing homes this time of year is rather high.  The probability of an out-of-work pianist related to an employee was playing in this particular nursing home, in this particular wing was increased by the fact that the piano is always in that room.  I had already intended to bring music with me.  Coincidence after coincidence after coincidence?  A secularist, a humanist, a social scientist might state yes, and maybe even a bit amused.

For me, this afternoon was one more in my life’s journey full of such ‘coincidences’.  It was one more experience where I saw the movement of the Holy Spirit, the resonant power of God in our world today.  There are many reasons to have faith in this God.  My reasons come from these types of encounters.  More than coincidences, too many to be considered as such, I ‘feel’ resonance come over me and attracted into the situations.  Most have been this simple.  Some have been more difficult.  One or two have been very difficult.  A few have been powerfully invigorating. Always I have found peace after, a grace in my heart to strengthen my faith.

Like Elijah in the cave on Mt. Carmel, I hear God in the whisper of a breeze, and I kneel in amazement to worship at the celebration of His Incarnation in the form of a child in a manger. O Come! O Come, Emmanuel!  And ransom captive Israel! Come!

Merry Christmas!

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