This past week we decorated the outside of the house that I love.
(total aside: if you were the one that honked when I was on the porch, I couldn’t wave because my arms were full of poinsettia).
We hung red bows and evergreen swags and a giant wreath on the front of the house and added urns of poinsettia to the steps and the entire time I hummed to myself.
It’s Christmas carol season.
And there’s nothing better than “O Holy Night” and “All I Want for Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Joy to the World.”
My heart is brimming over with Christmas music right now.
I’m wrapping presents and watching Hallmark movies and drinking coffee out of Santa mugs and making bows out of velvet ribbon and arranging poinsettia.
Tomorrow November ends and soon December 25 will be knocking at my door.
And so to celebrate all the Christmas songs that have gone before here’s a story about one of my favorites.
When I was younger, I knew that I knew that I knew….
….I was going to make it onto Star Search.
To me, it wasn’t really a question of if, more of a question of when.
Just a matter of time.
I knew that one day I was going to be discovered singing quietly to myself in aisle seven of Wal-Mart. The notes would dance softly across the polished linoleum floors into the waiting ears of a big Hollywood agent who would immediately and without hesitation approach me on bended knee and offer to represent me.
And then he would whisk me away to the Star Search stage to a world of fame and fortune and a long and illustrious singing career.
It was going to be incredible.
I couldn’t wait to see my name in lights.
Except for one, tiny, insignificant, often-overlooked, minuscule detail.
I couldn’t sing.
Not even a note.
Truth? Just between us and the Star Search judges, I wasn’t aware of this fact. I truly thought I sounded amazing. I would sing in the back of my parent’s station wagon to an un-eager audience of brothers and sisters and when I belted out the high notes it sounded to me like the angels were singing a heavenly chorus.
Or so I told everyone.
And no one ever disagreed.
I can remember trying out for the solo part in “Away in the Manger” in the Christmas program at church when I was in fourth grade. I sat at the piano in the music room with the choir director as she listened to my enthusiastic over-the-top-complete-with-choreography-totally-off-key rendition of the song.
And after the first verse, she stopped me quickly with an awkward smile and asked me if I was nervous and offered to play the song on the piano for me so I could hear the notes.
I took this as an encouragement.
The next step in the audition process.
So I sang louder and stronger with more gusto and proceeded to act out the entire first verse of the song and finished the rendition with a last note so full of vibrato that it made the chandeliers rattle. When I finished she simply sat there for a moment without saying a word. Then, in a sweet and gentle voice, she told me that she loved my dramatic song interpretation—especially the part when the cattle were lowing.
She went on to tell me she thought that I would have made an amazing soloist, but she had decided with moves like that…..
….I would make the perfect innkeeper’s wife.
And I was.
An amazing non-singing innkeeper’s wife that is.
I never sang a solo in that children’s choir.
But life went on.
And I grew up and got married and had four children and moved to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and then moved back to Texas and bought back the house that I grew up in.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
This past weekend, I sat in a church pew and waited with anticipation as my sweet niece stood up at the front of the church with her friends in pink pajamas wearing a bow and a smile the size of Texas and sang one of my favorite Christmas carols….
….Away in the Manger.
Tears streamed down my face as I watched her sing.
Every note in tune.
Every note as clear as a bell.
She finished that long ago chapter and sang the song that I never could with a voice straight from my heart.
PS She didn’t add any choreography, but don’t worry I had it covered. 🙂
PPS Happy December and merry, merry Christmas week from our house to yours.