Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2015

December 3: Christmas Music

I don’t remember Christmas music as a child.

My father was a great lover of music, having played in the band in his high school and then later in the army. But for some reason, I don’t remember us playing Christmas music as I was growing up.

But as an adult I grew to love Christmas music and couldn’t wait until after Thanksgiving to queue up my records. When our children were young around 1990, we discovered Christmas Lessons and Carols.

Best. Christmas. Music. Ever.

Our first Lessons and Carols was Christmas 1991 in Portland Oregon. Lessons and Carols is a service that intersperses Christmas carols with scripture readings. The service was at a church we have never attended before, perhaps Episcopalian. The night was one of those perfectly clear and icy cold evenings, and the church was packed, warm with bodies. The lights were low and from the back of the church the choir came in on the side aisles and down the center filling the sanctuary  with beautiful music.

The last Carol of the night was sung by the light of hundreds of candles, each one held by an attendee. The church glowed golden, and my heart was full.

We’ve tried ever since to find a Lessons and Carols service to match this on, with varying levels of success. But, that first Lessons and Carols was the best.

This photo is from Christmas 1968, when I was ten. I never mastered the guitar, but I did enjoy trying.

barbara, with guitar, christmas 1968 (1)

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”


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