Holston friends share scenes from seasons past. Part 6 in a series.
PALMER CANTLER, age 22
Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church
Johnson City, Tenn.
My favorite Christmas memory cannot be narrowed to one year, nor can I express a single story. My memories of Christmas seem to be an accumulation of the same moment from many years that define the holiday for me.
As much as I love all of the good food, the plethora of desserts, and unwrapping of goodies under the tree, it has always been worship on Christmas Eve that is most significant.
For as long as I can remember, my family has attended one of the Christmas Eve services at Munsey Memorial UMC. Whether it was dressed as bathrobe shepherds, singing in the praise team or even just sitting in the pews, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without this service.
Each year, my parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would end up squished in a pew at the 10:30 p.m. service. All who were in town were crowded into that pew surrounded by family and friends who had done the same. We sang and proclaimed the birth of the Messiah, united as a congregation and family.
Now as I am growing up and able to choose where I want to worship (and even thinking about how I hope to preach Christmas Eve myself one day), I refuse to miss the 10:30 p.m. service (where I once fell asleep). Part of me always hopes that it will be snowing as we exit the sanctuary at midnight, despite the fact that this year, it will be 70 degrees.
The number of family members in that pew has changed, but if I close my eyes I'm still able to hear the full family chorus. Maybe it is nostalgic, but I picture Christmas as Munsey's sanctuary filled with poinsettias, candles and angels loudly singing, "Glory to God in the Highest!" Christmas would not be complete without this yearly tradition, full of memory and hope.
At 22, I will still be praying for snow and watching for someone else to fall asleep in the pew. But I will also be celebrating the company of angels surrounding me and those watching from above while we sing at the top of our lungs.
See other memories in the series.
Dindy remembers an impromptu Santa parade12/24/2015
Holston friends share scenes from seasons past. Last in a series DINDY TAYLOR, age 65 Holston Conference Alcoa, Tenn. It's hard to select just one Christmas memory to share with you. Once I open the door, the memories just keep rolling out. I'll ...
Charles remembers tragedy and a Christmas Eve fire12/22/2015
Holston friends share scenes from seasons past. Part 5 in a series CHARLES LIPPSE, age 81 Tyner United Methodist Church Chattanooga, Tenn. In 1989, while I was pastor at Munsey Memorial, a cold rain began on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Several...
Kevin remembers the angels at his home church12/21/2015
Holston friends share scenes from seasons past. Part 3 in a series KEVIN BLUE, age 37 Vestal United Methodist Church Knoxville, Tenn. I was 12 years old and had just finished my confirmation in the spring at my home church, First United Methodist...
Tim remembers banana pudding and family time12/20/2015
Holston friends share scenes from seasons past. Part 4 in a series TIM BELCHER, age 36 Shades of Grace United Methodist Church Kingsport, Tenn. My Christmas memories of being a kid, of course, usually involve getting presents. From an adult ...
Ruth Anne remembers a Christmas gift that wasn't12/19/2015
Holston friends share scenes from seasons past. Part 2 in a series RUTH ANNE HENLEY, age 61 Draper Circuit Draper, Va. There is a memory that persistently interrupts my thoughts on Christmas although I have actively tried to squelch it. It was an ...
Rueben remembers Christmas caroling with neighbors12/18/2015
Holston friends share scenes from seasons past. Part 1 in a series. RUEBEN CASTILLO, age 10 St. John United Methodist Church Maryville, Tenn. The children at St. John go caroling every year with a few adults. Some of the people that we sing for ...
Seven Holston friends share their Christmas memories12/17/2015
We asked seven people from our Holston Conference family, ages 10 to 81, to share a moment or two from Christmases past. Some are happy. Some are not. But all will make you think and give thanks for the gift of all gifts. Merry Christmas. Rueben...