As a young child, living in northern B.C., it seemed to me that Christmas took forever to arrive. Early snow fell softly to the ground, transforming our bleak landscape into a magical winter wonderland. My family and I routinely trudged through knee deep snow to go to school, to Sunday school, to the grocery store, and to visit friends. I didn’t think of it as a hardship at all. It was all I knew.
Every year at this time, I asked my mother, “When can we put up the Christmas tree?” Every year I got the same answer–“On your birthday.” I have to admit, as much as I disliked having my birthday a week before Christmas, it was an extra special day. I knew that date meant we could FINALLY put up the tree and decorate the house. Christmas would then be in full gear. The house was filled with smells of cookies and Striezel (a German braided sweet bread) baking in the oven.
One crisp calm snowy evening, my mother took my sister and me out for a walk around the neighbourhood. The snow sparkled with diamond chips, the full moon peeked through the drifting clouds in the darkened sky. My sister and I were chatting away, when my mother said, “If you stay quiet, and listen VERY carefully, there is a good chance you will hear the angels singing.” Now, I don’t know quite how she orchestrated this, but within a moment or two of peace and quiet, I heard a distant choir singing so sweetly. Were they angels? Perhaps someone nearby was playing Christmas hymns on their radio? To this day, I am not sure. However, given the circumstances, I will choose to believe I really did hear the angels sing. No material gifts for Christmas could ever compare with the gift my mother gave me that night. I miss her so much. Rest in peace with the angels, Mutti.