The other day I was driving across the bridge on my way to the church when an unexpected rise of emotion came over me.  The trees were covered in hoarfrost and the river almost frozen.  Christmas music played softly on the radio as I mentally ran through what I needed to accomplish at the coming rehearsal.

I hummed along to the current song and suddenly my eyes filled with tears.  The song caused a wave of memories from Christmas 2010.

That was the last Christmas my Grandpa was alive.

here's the lego version of our Christmas Eve tradition
that my kids created last year!
At our annual Christmas Eve celebration, my mom's side of the family gathers for food, prezzies and carol singing.  We even have a special visit from Santa himself, but before that happens, the Christmas story is read.  As long as I can remember, my Grandpa, our patriarch, read the story.  Several years ago, he passed the honour to my uncle - almost as a way of preparing us for when he would no longer read to us.

Part of the reading and singing time always includes some concert recitations from the kids and a song sung by yours truly.  I tend to feel a little embarrassed doing it, but I've committed to the Lord to always be prepared to use the gifts He's given if called upon.  And my dad will always ask me for my song! :)

Two Christmases ago, I sang the song I heard the other day on the radio: "In the Bleak Midwinter."  It was soft and simple, but it meant something to me that year.  After I finished, my Grandpa asked me to sing it again.  He moved to a seat right beside the piano and I sang just for him.

In the bleak midwinter, icy wind did moan.
The earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.
Snow had softly fallen, Snow on snow, on snow.
In the bleak midwinter, so long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor the earth sustain.
Heaven and earth shall fade away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed.
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

What then can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
Yet, what can I give Him? I must give my heart.

I've often wondered why he asked me to sing it again.

Was it because he couldn't hear me?

Did he simply like the way it sounded?

Did he somehow know that it would be the last Christmas song he would hear me sing?

Or was it because the words spoke truth to him?  I like that answer the best. My Grandpa often said he wasn't the smartest man, he certainly wasn't the richest and he wasn't without faults.  But he loved Jesus.  And so I like to think that the truth of the last line of the song was why he asked me to sing it again.  That it was a recommitment to once again offer the Lord his whole heart.

It's the example I hope to remember this Christmas, every Christmas, and all year long.


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