Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Church Services - Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

# 693 "Hope" in The Book of Praise, Authorised By The General Assembly Of The Presbyterian Church In Canada, With Music. Toronto: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1918. Revised from the 1897 version. Music by Herbert Stephen Irons, words by Samuel Longfellow.

December 17 - Christmas Church Services

Did your family attend religious services during the Christmas season? What were the customs and traditions involved?

We did go to church as children; even my father often attended at Easter and Christmas. My Na was always there. She felt herself a lifelong Presbyterian, I think, although she was active in the United Church after the union of Canada’s Methodist, Congregational, and General Council of Union and most of the Presbyterian Churches in 1925.

Unless Christmas was on a Sunday, I don’t think there were any special services – I remember going to church Christmas Eve only as an adult. We certainly sang Christmas hymns and in Sunday School, I’m sure we must have had projects to do and I know there were Christmas plays. My memories there are pretty slim. I remember the bake sales and bazaars before Christmas better.

I wonder what my Na and later my mum and Na (her mum, my grandmother) did for Christmas when young? I don’t think they ever talked about it and I don’t see anything in my Newdale, Manitoba, Canada history book about Christmas. I’m sure my families attended the Presbyterian Newdale Church services –my ‘aunty grandma’, Maggie Drummond, née Irwin, was an organist. (Aunty grandma was my Na’s sister.) William R. Lavery, who my grandfather, Walter Scott, was in business with later, taught Sunday School at the turn of the century. My Na and W.R. Lavery were good sports in Newdale too - more later maybe on winter recreation.

I had a look in some of the hymnals passed down to me. Most of the seasonal hymns were very dour but I did find this pleasant one with Longfellow’s words in a book that belonged to my family in Newdale.

"O God! Who giv’st the winter’s cold,
As well as summer’s joyous rays,
Us warmly in Thy Love enfold,
And keep us through life’s wintry days. Amen."

Click on the December 17 ornament for more Church Service Memories, in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories :

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