Saturday, 8 December 2012

Music Triggered Memories

I always marvel how music can magically take you back to a place in your past, just by hearing a few strains of a particular song. Today, I’m going to allow some Christmas songs to take me on a journey down memory lane.

·         O Come of Come Emmanuel – Without fail, when I hear this one, I am at the Deer Spring Bruderhof in Connecticut, which actually no longer exists. I spent one Christmas there many years ago and often throughout December I sang this song in the huge communal dining room with the Bruderhof members or with it with my host family, the Warners. I remember all the wonderful Christmas festivities that I experienced there. One of my favourites was watching an outstanding performance of ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’, by a High School group that came from another Bruderhof community in New York.

·         Tomorrow I love you – This is not really a Christmas song, but it has Christmas memories for me. We had a cassette (Remember those?) of this song. I’m not even sure who sang on it. However, a few lines from the song somehow got stuck in my brain. For many years, at one point during Dec. the 23rd I would belt out “Tomorrow, I love you. You’re only a day away.” Today still, my mom sometimes chuckles, “Linda hasn’t sung her song yet.” Like the 24th wouldn’t arrive until I did.

·         Der Tag der ist so Freudenreich (a Day that is so rich in joy) Was one of my dad’s favourite Christmas songs. I hear him sing in a strong, deep voice for all the Christmases that we had him with us. Today, I’m blessed to count this as one of the beautiful memories my dad left us. Our first Christmas, after losing him in October 2006 wasn’t easy, especially singing this song. We’ll always miss him, at the same time we rejoice that he's celebrating Christmas in heaven.

·          Still, still, still weil’s Kindlein schlafen will (Still, still, still, 'Cause baby wants to sleep.) Except I couldn’t tell my heart to be still, or maybe it was heading towards ‘too still’.  I was about 15 or 16 and our choir sang for the Rotary Christmas Festival in Portage – my first time of performing for a big audience of mostly people I didn’t know. Before going on stage we waited in a narrow, stuffy hallway and I thought they’d have to pick me off the floor before our turn came. I somehow survived, but then we had to step over about a hundred cables… well ok not that many, to get to the stage area. Miraculously, I didn’t trip and my gummy- candy knees held out through our two songs, finally we filed through the audience…and I wondered why people choose to do this for a living.

·         Silent Night – this memory is more recent. At our annual Christmas concert a few years ago, one little boy did a solo, singing the first verse of this carol. I can still see him standing tall and straight, serious expression, singing with a beautiful clear voice, “Sleep in heavenly please. Sleep in heavenly please.” Needless to say, the audience loved it.
Your turn, do you have a Christmas song that triggers a special memory?


  1. What special memories. O Come O Come Emmanuel is special because it reminds me of our Christmas gatherings when I was a kid. I sang Away In A Manger in a Christmas program when I was in grade school, so I have memories associated with that song, too.

  2. Linda, you brought so many memories back to me. "Tomorrow, I love you, etc." is actually from the musical "Annie." I also love this song. My father had a beautiful voice, as did his father. They both were Vorsaenger in our church. Often I hear a song that my dad would sing so beautifully and it also brings me to tears. And Stille simply is not Christmas until this is sung in German. Sweet memories. Thank you.

  3. I'm guessing you sang O Come O Come Emmanuel during the Advent season at the Bruderhof. Do you remember if you sang any Christmas songs during Advent (i.e. before Christmas Day)?

  4. It probably was Advent, Jesse. Can't remember if we sang Christmas songs during Advent. It's all part of Christmas, for me anyway.

  5. This is a good post for today because last night at bedtime I was reading my book and my husband had finished his and was looking on his iPhone at sports scores or something boring. Then he put on a Christmas song (O Holy Night) and we just laid there and listened to it, enjoying it. Then he'd find another and it was just so nice, relaxing and listening to the Christmas songs.

    My two very favorites are "Mary Did You Know" and "My Grown-up Christmas List". I have to learn to listen to Mary Did you Know without tearing up because it happens every time, without fail.

  6. I enjoy reading your Christmas song memories! Keep them coming!

  7. Hi Linda, so nice! Der tag der ist so freudenreich, is always sung by the congregation after the Christmas program, one of my favorite songs!
    but one other thing, going of topic maybe, I was not aware the Deerspring bruderhof is no longer in existance? how long? guess we no longer keep in touch as we used to, maybe I just missed it or forgot about it....

  8. Yes, Lydia, they sold it a few years ago already. Don't think I ever heard why. I loved that community, especially that big, old castle that was home to many of their families.


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