What are your three favorite Christmas songs and who sings them?
I have a lot of Christmas songs I'm tired of, and a lot that I really love, so this was really difficult! There's also the difference between the Christmas songs I love to listen to, and those I love to sing. So, without further ado:
1. I'll Be Home For Christmas -- from Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas album. We always trimmed the tree to this album. My dad and I used to sing Silver Bells together as we drove to pick up our Christmas tree (usually about the middle of December, and yes, a real tree). But the last song has taken more meaning for me since learning of the album's release, during World War II, and also since being away from home myself, for three years in Japan.
2. The Rebel Jesus -- from The Chieftains Christmas Album, sung by Jackson Browne. It's not a hymn or a carol, but it has really thought-provoking words. I first heard it on the radio on Christmas day (NPR), as I was driving home to Minnesota from South Dakota. Later on, the Chieftains album became my Christmas Album of the Year, and I was pleased to find this song on it.
3. Joy to the World -- as sung by the congregation, at the very end of the late Christmas eve service. After communion and after the candles and after Silent Night, the lights come back up and everyone is blinded by the light. And we all sing Joy to the World. After coming to this congregation, I have grown to love this hymn even more, because of the way we do it. After communion, the chancel choir lines up in the center aisle of the sanctuary. After the post-communion prayer, and just as the lights come up, the organist begins to play Joy to the World. The choir each has a handbell and they ring them all during the song while we process out. I always cry.
Three favorite foods
1. Lefse, of course. They are a thin Norwegian potato crepe, rolled up with butter, with butter and sugar, with butter and brown sugar. Our family prefers the butter and sugar variety. In fact, the children in our family were responsible, before Christmas eve or day dinners, for rolling up the lefse with the butter and sugar inside.
2. Kringla. Another of my grandmother's Norwegian recipes. It's hard to describe, but it's a kind of a cookie, shaped like a figure eight. And it's not easy to get right. I tried to make it once, in Japan, and ended up burying the dough in the backyard. I blamed it on not being able to get buttermilk, but I think there was more to it than that.
3. Swedish Meatballs. We've never really known what was in the ones my grandma made. She didn't have a recipe. We get Swedish meatball mix at a local store called Engebretsons.
Three Christmas Secrets
1. After a Christmas morning where a game of Racko mysteriously appeared from Santa to my parents, I spent an extra $10 and bought my parents a box of Fannie Farmer candy, put it under the tree, and wrote: to: (my parents names) from: Santa on it. The next year, my parents bought themselves Christmas stockings and we kids filled them. If mom and dad are reading this, the secret's out!
2. I have never cooked a turkey. My family knows this, and I'm not proud of it. Still waiting for my "first time", but with the responsibilities of Thanksgiving and Christmas services, it's hard to figure out when would be a good time. (and yes, I know, it's not hard.)
3. oh, like Law and Gospel, I have a "missing baby Jesus" story too. One year in South Dakota, I could not find the baby Jesus for the creche. I looked everywhere, and he was nowhere to be found. I found him the next July in the trunk of the car. I had used him for a children's message (now I really forget the theme). Now how he got into the trunk: well, I had a three-point parish and drove to two churches every Sunday. So I had these sermon illustrations in a paper bag, which at some point got put into the trunk.
Ok, I tag FranIAm, Barb at Views from the Road, and Pastor Eric from Heart of a Pastor. Have fun!