Early Christmas Presents

Christmas is coming early this year for me, as I was the recipient of some generous gifts by fellow bloggers yesterday. I’ve only been blogging here since September, so I am deeply touched and grateful for these gestures. Today also marks my twentieth post and the 2000th view of my blog.

First, the postman delivered a Read more!

Keeping Christmas

. . .and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well . . .  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

Many years ago, I went on an overseas musical tour to entertain the troops during the holidays. I didn’t think it would bother me to be away for the holidays but Christmas Eve found me in tears. In a lovely tropical land, but with nothing to give as gifts except stale candy and magazines from the tiny PX, and performing Christmas music for an audience that was in holiday denial, I was sorry I had agreed to the trip. A fortuitous invitation to a midnight mass changed everything for me. On a warm tropical night, in a soaring cathedral built of Philippine mahogany but with no walls, people gathered by candlelight to celebrate Christmas. Sweet voices rose in singing “Silent Night” to the accompaniment of acoustic guitars, the original instrument used for that lovely carol. I felt all preconceptions and expectations about the holiday slip away from me – the night was magical, a quiet miracle. When I returned home, I remembered Scrooge’s change of heart and vowed to “keep Christmas” any time I had the chance but also to remember that it was bigger than custom and ritual.

Jump forward 25 years. When asked to write and record a pop style song for a Christmas CD, I remembered that remarkable Christmas Eve. The lyrics were written in ten minutes during a chamber music concert on the back of the program. Influenced by the music that was being performed at the time, I included two violins and a cello in the score and “Christmas In My Heart” was recorded for the “Christmas at Duquesne, Vol. 2 CD”.

This song is dedicated to everyone who finds themselves away from home during the holidays, with a gentle reminder that you carry the real meaning inside of you. Trust that magic will happen.

Christmas in My Heart

©2008 Lynn Emberg Purse, All rights reserved

If there was no tree this year, no rows of twinkling lights,

no ornaments, no bells to ring, no frosty snowmen bright.

I’d miss the cheerful bustle with which the season starts,

but no matter where I find myself, I’ll keep Christmas in my heart.

If there was nobody singing carols, no cups of Christmas cheer,

no bows, no boxes, no ribbons to tie, no special gifts to share.

I’d miss the sounds, the sights, the smells with which the season starts,

but no matter where I find myself, I’ll keep Christmas in my heart.

I may be so far away, missing everyone I love,

Standing on unfamiliar ground where nothing looks like home.

Yet in a quiet moment, in a starry silent night

the shortest day is over and the dawn is growing bright.

I sing an alleluia and a candle lights the dark.

No matter where I find myself, no matter where I find myself,

no matter where we find ourselves, we’ll keep Christmas in our hearts, in our hearts.

Lynn Emberg Purse, Vocals and keyboards; Bill Purse, bass, sound engineer and producer; Rachel Stegeman and Charles Stegeman, violins; Chris Bromley, cello; Billy Kuhn, drums. CD available for purchase from the Duquesne University Mary Pappert School of Music, 412-396-6080. All proceeds go to support scholarships for music students.

A special thanks to those who provided photos, especially Andrew Fichter and Michael Ortiz.  Many photos were also provided by Photos8.org and Photos Public Domain – please support those public domain/creative commons websites that provide beautiful photos at no cost and support artistic creativity.

Another Christmas post you may like: Father Christmas

Text and media of “Keeping Christmas” ©2011 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved