When I was growing up in Lexington, Virginia, life was a lot simpler. There were few extra-curricular activities. My parents were in church every time the door opened and so was I. The children’s choir at Lexington Presbyterian was quite large and very rigorous in its musical training.

Every Christmas—every single Christmas—the last Sunday in Advent meant the choirs, adult and children, processed into the sanctuary of my historic church. We sang two hymns as we moved down the center aisle toward the choir loft. The children then walked around the pews to the right and back to the front of the church where we breathlessly climbed stairs to the large balcony that lined three walls of the sanctuary and walked quickly to where the balcony overlooked the choir loft. 

We had to know all the verses (four for each hymn!) because there were not enough hymnals. And ever since a kiddie choir member had dropped a hymnal on an older church member sitting below the balcony, the organist and choir director seemed reluctant to give us any written music at all!

The hymns of that busy Advent Sunday stay with me still. Christmas means Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Angels We Have Heard on High. Every time I hear or sing these wonderful carols, in an instant I am transported to my childhood. What a trip it’s been.

Winnie Walsh

About the Contributor

Winnie Walsh is an elder and the editor of this year’s Advent Booklet.