A memory favorite of my past is the church’s annual Young Married’s Sunday School class Christmas party. Quite possibly a favorite of all who were there!
This Christmas party was one you would choose not to miss. You would plan all other parties around This Party. Why? Hmmm. Let’s go back and take a look. Use the Discovery Method. Circa, 1980’s. A snowy, cold day in St. Paul, Minnesota.
It was festive. Usually located in a restaurant party room by reservation, it would be complete with Christmas tree, last year’s garland swaying from window valances. Piped in carol tunes filling every corner of the table set room.
The Christmas entree was well received by the guests. Not so much by its gourmet notoriety, but by its effortless availability – the guests did not have to make it at home and carry it to the party in a casserole dish!
Certain attire was not required to be worn by the guests. We could wear whatever we wanted. Formal. Casual. Christmas – red and green, burgundies, wintergreens of warm corderoy or wool blends. Possibly last year’s wears. Black, with various sparkling accents. Or maybe your unchanged ‘long-day-at-the-office suit. Christmas sweaters with pointsettias, Santa or snowflakes. It didn’t seem to matter to this party group.
We sat at circular tables decked out in their own holiday attire.How we arrived at our table destination, I am not sure. Were we assigned? Or did we just gather at each table, as we moved from the coat rack to the dining area – chatting as we walked. Again, it didn’t seem to matter to these guests.
The piano and microphone stands were in place, pronouncing the stage area for later entertainment.
Coffee was undoubtedly the beverage choice for the evening. We poured a cup as we first sat down, and we would feast on it the whole evening. Maybe that is why the ‘roar’ of this crowd was known to be deafening as the night rolled on. Jokingly stating, “Who needs alcohol!”
With the dinner and dessert served and eaten, the tables were then cleared of dish clutter. Refilled thermal pots of hot coffee were restored at each table. And now, the fun would begin.
After the first time this annual program ever insued, we were glad this time, to be a bit ready. That very first time was a bit hard on our nerves. Now we could prepare ourselves by sitting on the edge of our seats…with a ‘smile-shake.’
‘I wonder what he will do this year?’
‘I wonder who he will call this time?’
But before ‘he’ would appear, we had preliminary hilarious musical entertainment:
Sung in Boone & Erickson style (Gary & Paul!) with live piano, the magical Scandinavian duet began again to sing, what they sang in years past:
“Yust a little lefsa vill(will) go a long vay(way),
Gives hyoou(you) indiyestion(indigestion)most all of da(the) day.
Pyoot(put) it on your table,
Hyoou’ll(you’ll) be shooor(sure)to say,
Yust(just) a little lefse, vill(will) go a long vay(way.”
(I will give you only the first verse at this time. This musical selection has its only story to tell – at another time.)
“Lefse’s goood (good) for many tings (things),
And ve(we) can give hyoou(you) proof:
For tiling on de(the) kitchen floor,
And patching up de(the) rooof (roof).
Some folks even hyuus(use) it de(the) soles upon dare(their) feet,
And some folks tink(think) it’s even goood(good) to eat!”
The laughter has already taken a firm grip on these Christmas dinner guests.
Now the we are asked to participate. Each table must collaborate and present our own dramatic interpretation of one of the Twelve Days of Christmas. When our time comes, “…please stand and act it out!”
“A partridge in a pear tree; two turtle doves; three French hens; four calling birds; five golden rings; six geese a laying; seven swans a swimming; eight maids a milking; nine ladies dancing; ten lords a leaping; eleven pipers piping; twelve drummers drumming.”
Not once did each table have to perform, but in moving fast pace – to the music, twelve times over again. That is, if you can hear for your turn. The rowdy roar of laughter was deafening.
While the crowd was settling down, needing another cup of coffee for post participation recovery, Santa has slipped in. Mrs.Claus is with him, as is also his bag of ‘toys.’ Situated and ready for his job to begin, he “ho, hoes” the group to attention.
And all was quiet. ‘Oh no. There he is.’
(Now why would we be FEARFUL of Santa, I wondered? Even though I knew why.)
When we hear Santa speak, the voice is familiar. Yes, Santa is ‘him.’ We know him. That can be settling. But the real problem is, he knows us. Too well, for this next program portion, anyway.
Santa has a list, and has checked it twice. He knows if you’ve been naughty or nice. And he might just be calling you up in front of this Christmas crowd, to sit on his knee. And discuss the behavior of your past year. Then, dig through the ‘toy bag’ for your gift. And while you receive it, the rest laugh. Because it’s always funny.
Actually anything is hilarious by this point. We have laughed until exhausted.
Can I remember any specific roasts of anyone that sat on his knee? Can I remember the roast I received, while sitting on his knee? No! None! But I do vividly remember the laughter. Simple gut-wrenching laughter.
Santa’s roast jobs were not meant to bring disgrace. But they did remind us all that we are quirky in one way or another. And those quirks were ok. Somehow those quirks defined each of us as individuals, with unique ‘gifts.’
Yes. That’s it! Santa was honoring the uniqueness of each who were on his knee. And that was something each ‘child-on-the-knee’ could walk away with. Encouragement. Not embarrassment.
What a nice Santa. And no wonder we all looked forward to the next Christmas dinner, another 12 months away.
And 12 months of info-gathering time for Santa.
“He sees you when your sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. So be good, for goodness sake!”
Isn’t it interesting that we do have Someone greater than Santa that does know everything about us? Knowing when we are sleeping or awake, bad or good. But that’s just the beginning.
He knows our every thought, before we think it. Whether good or bad. He knows where we are, and what we are doing. Even before we do it. Before we go there, He knows it.
We are enclosed in His Ever-Loving Arms, as we go through each day. And He wishes to remind us of His love all the while.
He allows our uniquenesses to blossom. He applauds our individualality.
Our Christmas party Santa did an awesome job. Every year. We loved Santa. You guessed it. He was our Sunday School teacher. He knew how to play Santa with us because he had studied us as members of his Sunday School class.
‘I wonder how she is doing with..?’
‘How is he handling the..?’
‘Are they surviving the…’
He and his wife, cared for of us sincerely.
We trusted them on Sunday. And likewise, we trusted them as Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Our great encouragers.
That was many Christmases ago. Moving away brought this party to an end for Tim and me. But we did not forget. The memory will always be there.
And so at this time, may I speak for all the ‘kids’ in your class, throughout the years that you taught us – thank you. We love you. We appreciate you, Olin & Bev Phillips.
Life is Lovelier With Lace. . .
So many years later. Memories flood as decades have passed by. While I hold my crochet needle, sometimes a tear escapes as I remember the love shown toward me by others. As my Lace Counselor brings me encouragement through memories such as these, I can ask Him to bring blessing back to them…pressed down, multiplied beyond measure. To you, Olin and Bev.
And as the day approaches, may we spread more and more of this infectious joy!
The Ludvigson Lace Lady
LUDVIGSON LACE ♡ Aftcra