With Christmas around the corner and family plans of getting together for the first time in several years, I have been thinking of my grandpa. Gramps Pat had a wonderful bass singing voice. He sang in choir and serenaded us at Christmas time. Our favorite that he would sing as far back as I can remember was Oh, Holy Night. He would sing under protest. “It’s too high.” “I don’t remember the lines.” These were his favorite excuses. I was not much older than seven when Mom surprised him. We all gathered around on Christmas Eve. We had read the story from the book of Luke and had sang some carols.
“Dad, will you sing Oh, Holy Night?” Mom asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Please, Gramps?” We pleaded.
“I don’t know the words.”
That was what Mom was waiting for. She produced from behind her back a cookie tin. “Here, Dad,” she said as she handed it to him.
With curiosity, he took it and opened it. Inside were several slips of typed paper. Gramps’ deep hearty laughed followed. Mom had typed up the words. Never again could he have the excuse that he didn’t know the words. He sang it every Christmas after that until 1999. In April of 2000, Gramps took his singing voice to go sing for Jesus in heaven. Every Christmas since when I hear Oh, Holy Night, I think of him. The first ten years or so after, I would break down and cry at least once in the season when I heard the song.
I thought I was past that stage until tonight. As I was at the art gallery, a man came in with one of the artists. As he waited for her, he sat down and began to sing, Oh, Holy Night. I paused in my steps and listened, a wistful look on my face. What a joy to hear a grandfatherly man singing Gramps Pat’s song.
What about you? Do you have any special song for the holidays? Any song you have to hear before it’s the season? Let me know in the comments.