Christmas Correct II
Ray and I had a Christmasy weekend. We spent the day in Nashville on Friday. Our first stop was a restaurant my friend Amy told me about. Every waiter looked like he was paying his dues while waiting for his big break as a Nashville musician. I was grateful to see the American flag flying beyond the Christmas wreaths hanging in its windows.
That afternoon we went to see the lights at the Opryland Hotel. A fellow visitor snapped our picture in this sleigh — one of the many spots just right for a photo op.
As always my favorite spot was the outdoor nativity in front of the hotel. Here Joseph and Mary head to Bethlehem.
Here’s a broader view with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus after His birth.
On Saturday, Mother, Mary Evelyn and her family, and Ray and I enjoyed our annual tradition of going to our tiny, local Christmas parade.
Ray was nursing a cold on Saturday and Sunday, so he stayed home with Mother while I joined Mary Evelyn and her family to experience the second annual opening ceremony of Christmas in the Park in nearby Cookeville.
Several hundred of us gathered around a giant unlit Christmas tree in Dogwood Park for the first of the evening’s two ceremonies. The mayor of Cookeville served as host as we sang “The Star Spangled Banner” while looking high in the sky at a lighted American flag. An acappella men’s chorus from the local public university sang two songs — “Joy to the World” and a Christmas song which celebrated family.
Young people dressed as elves pulled a sleigh bearing Santa and Mrs. Claus. I have seen this kind and gentle Santa before. He is a giant of a man and an elderly one with his own long white beard. A helper brought a step stool for him to use to get out of the sleigh. As he walked around greeting children after the programs, he supported himself with his red and white striped umbrella which he used like a cane. I admire this man for coming out in the cold rain in his somewhat feeble condition to bring happiness to little children.
We joined the mayor for the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown before the red and white striped “switch” was pushed down — and then we waited some more for the beautiful lights and music to begin. This just added to the camaraderie of the evening.
After this short program, the mayor invited us to stay for a Christmas service in which 25 churches, plus the choruses of several public schools, participated. We listened to ministers read prophecies about Jesus from the Old Testament and to the birth story in the New Testament. The choruses and the crowd sang in between.
The evening ended with a beautiful rendition of “Amen,” in which we responded to the solo lead of a talented African American singer. My favorite part was when the men responded to his invitation to “let the men sing.” An African American minister led a prayer that included an appeal to God to bring unbelievers to Him.
This post has many similarities to the one I wrote last year about this event, but I wanted you to know that it happened again.
Near the end of the program, the mayor told us, as he did last year, that in an America concerned with political correctness, Cookeville was going to be “Christmas Correct.” The vice mayor, county executive, and a council member joined him on stage at the end. The mayor completed the program with the same reading he read at the service last year:
For a child will be born to us,
a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase
of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it
with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.