Christmas, Winter, and Good Cheer

The Williams House; Chapter 7: Christmas; Pgs. 145-148

Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells
All seem to say: throw cares away
Christmas is here bringing good cheer
To young and old, meek and the bold
Ding, ding, ding, dong, that is their song
With joyful ring all caroling
One seems to hear words of good cheer
From everywhere filling the air
Oh how they pound, raising the sound
O’er hill and dale, telling their tale
Gaily they ring while people sing
Songs of good cheer, Christmas is here
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
On, on they send, on without end
Their joyful tone to every home

.     Maria and Susan were skating near their driveway, using their boots to glide along as they held each other’s hands. Moonlight was dancing around their hair as they turned and flipped along the ice. Both were laughing, not only at their clumsy attempts to skate, but also with sheer glee at the evening and the coming day. Yet their eyes were expectant, eagerly radiant and quiet at the same time.
.     ’Twas in the evening of Christmas Eve, and all were about to embark for a Christmas Eve service. Snow was in the air, and it was falling with a gentle rush upon the ground. It was a cold night. Shadows of the trees were cast on the small skating rank, webbing out with their gnarled branches as though reaching for something.
.     “Come along, girls,” Mrs. Williams was calling from their driveway. “It is time to go.”
.     Susan and Maria saw everyone else filing out of the front door. They quickly did a last skate upon the rink before gliding off, trudging along the shoveled path to the Flying Carpet, which seemed to be waiting for them.
.     “Watch your step,” called Johnathon. “The ice is slick.”
.     After filing in, Maria could hear and feel their father start up the vehicle, making a long rumble beneath her seat. She could see the moon in full blaze out her window, and wondered if it ever became lonely way up there in the sky. Then soon, the vehicle was rolling down the old country road, lines of trees blocking most of the moonlight and casting the bus in darkness.
.     During the ride, Margaret suggested that they sing, and she began speaking the words, “Tis the season to be jolly.” Everyone soon joined her in song, and carols of voices were heard whizzing past to anyone who was out by the road at that time. Then Lilly led them into a Christmas hymn. When completed, their hearts were well prepared for the service that evening.
.     And a grand service it was! The carol hymns rang up from the sanctuary, and it spread into all the hearts and souls of those who heard it. A snow ploughman was ploughing his sidewalk a block away, and his strokes became firmer and his countenance brightened upon hearing the angelic anthems. His work was completed the sooner, and he entered the church building to hear the latter half of the sermon. Others were passing by under the shadow of the moon, and some stepped in to gladden their hearts. Those who didn’t, but turned away in fear or anger, were the worse for doing so.
.     The church sanctuary was soon filled to the brim, and still more people came, many members and many guests. When a troop of smaller children came in who had apparently been having a large nightly snowball fight in the churchyard, the Williamses stood up and gave them their seats. Then Mr. Williams led Mrs. Williams and children to a balcony area where they still might attend the service. The children carried their Bibles up with several hymnals, though they had most of the hymns memorized by heart.
.     After the service, there was a very loud ruckus as the congregation broke out in discourse. Many walked up to thank the pastor. Some left in a quick bustle, anxious to get back for their Christmas festivities. Others talked long with either friends or family, new acquaintances or old acquaintances that had not been seen for a long time. The Williamses and Bentleys talked long and eventually broke out in song with many other families, determined not to have their spirits of good cheer hindered. Those who drove or walked away could still hear the voices, both young and old, singing merrily to them from within the halls of the church. Much was done to thrill the hearts of many that night.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 148-150

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