Thursday, December 8, 2016

Silent Night by Amie Denman




Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? As a child, I revered a white church my mother displayed every year. It sparkled, played my favorite Christmas song Silent Night, and an internal light bulb illuminated the stained glass window. My mother loved it so much, I was stunned when she gave it to me last Christmas. My grandmother gave it to my mother the year she married my father, and my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. In my mother's words, "I've enjoyed this for fifty years, and it's time to give it to you." I wonder if you have a similar item in your family treasure-trove of decorations?

In December of 1947, my great-grandmother Mary saw this church in the Spiegel catalog and knew she had to have it. My grandmother ordered it for her, and the date on the original shipping box (which I have) is December 12, 1947.


December 12 happens to be my birthday, which I think may be a sign that the church would eventually end up with me. My great-grandmother Mary dearly loved the church. Every Christmas, it was the first decoration she unpacked. She had a group of candles shaped like Christmas Carolers that she would line up as if they were going to church. My great-grandmother lived with my mother's family, so my mother developed an attachment to the church from a young age. Her family would wind up the back of the church and listen to its beautiful music box play Silent Night. I'm so glad it still works, and I can enjoy it, too. This is a close-up of one of the windows of the church.



Although I never knew my great-grandmother, the original owner of this church, I feel a strong connection to her. My mother tells me that I'm a lot like her because I'm a peace-maker and I have a special fondness for ribbons and beads. I have three drawers full of ribbon scraps (I may need those some day...), and my great-grandmother had a similar stash.

Family heirlooms are valuable not only for themselves but also for the memories associated with them. My mother has warm memories of the church from her childhood, and I have those, too. I hope my children will appreciate the church someday when I feel that I can part with it. I called my mother this evening to chat with her and to ask her details about the church and her memories, and it was so nice to talk instead of texting. It's one of the many perks of having items passed down through the generations--it brings us together in so many ways.

Merry Christmas, dear readers, and I hope you find many moments of joy through your family, your heirlooms, and, perhaps, through a snow-covered church that still plays Silent Night.

16 comments:

  1. A lovely post Amie and how wonderful of your mother to give you the church when she could enjoy your own pleasure in having it! That is so much a part of giving, isn't it? Recently I let my two grown daughters take some jewellery - rings mainly- that I no longer wear but had special meaning to me and it's so nice to see them wearing the pieces. Happy Birthday (coming up!) and Merry Christmas.

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  2. Oh, Amie, I wish I had such a treasure that has passed on in in my family.

    Your post is truly heartwarming!

    Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas to you and your family!

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  3. Amie, your church is truly a treasure. To realize how long it has survived in it's original box shows how much it has meant to the women in your family. It's beautiful. I have some items that were my mother's, but no Christmas decorations. This is a lovely post.

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  4. Your mother sounds a lot like my own, Amie. What a beautiful gift she's passed on to you.
    When I had my first short story published, my father gave me his Montblanc pen. It was given to him when he retired. I wrote my second published short story with that pen. It's very special to me.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family and happy birthday too!

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  5. A beautiful family story. Merry Christmas to you!

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  6. Amie, what an absolute treasure! I wish I had some of the decorations from my youth. My mom is not a saver and when she and my dad moved (downsized) after their last child (me) left the house, she got rid of nearly everything that she didn't deem necessary. This included holiday decorations. I think your kids will be just as thrilled as you to get it some day.

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  7. Amie! What a lovely post to begin the day! That church is so beautiful and the window detail is exquisite. How love that it survived so well to come into your protection. I have two inch-high china angels in red gowns with hoods trimmed in white. They were once bells, but the clappers have disappeared. Their little faces are so sweet. They were my mother's and I'm giving them to my two oldest granddaughters this year. Amazing how objects can carry love and grace down the generations.

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  8. Love this post, Amie. This beautiful church clearly ended up right where it's supposed to be. Have a beautiful holiday and lovely birthday! <3

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  9. Lovely story, Amie. Sounds like something you could work into a novel. Happy birthday!

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  10. Hi Amie, What a wonderful post to get us in the spirit of this blessed holiday. I do have the nativity scene that was my mother's. I used to be the one to set it up under the tree and now that she is with the Lord, I have it to set under my tree. I have a treasure from my great grandmother as well. We always make her recipe for orange bread and have it with coffee Christmas morning. Thanks for bringing up these fun memories.

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  11. What a wonderful family heirloom! I think it's even more special because it's something you bring out once a year, and so you notice and appreciate it. Lovely.

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  12. What a beautiful story! And happy birthday. My middle daughter's birthday is December 12th as well. :)

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  13. Oh, I sooooo love stories of treasures handed down. I have my grandmother's curio cabinet. It was all I asked for when she passed away. I also got all her photos. Tons of those hard photos of people I don't know but who are not smiling. LOL

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  14. Hi everyone! Thank you for your lovely comments and for sharing stories about your family heirlooms.

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  15. I'm so glad you got the church. And Happy Birthday next week!

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  16. Happy birthday, Amie!! My birthday is December 11th and I was born in 1947. The same year as your church came to your family. I am so very blessed because I have so many things handed down to me from my grandmother and even my great, great, great grandmother. Including Christmas decorations. Though I have to say, I adore your little church! How special it is. Cherish it and save your treasures for your family. It surprises me how much I need these temioof my family around me.
    Merry Christmas!!

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