Many Christmas Eves

By Lenora Coberly


After school on December afternoons

the children walked up Baptist

Church Hill to practice for

the Christmas Eve Program.


Mrs. Booth played the piano

as we marched and sang of the

long ago Bethlehem gift brought

to our eager waiting valley.


The little ones, coached to memorize

and stand tall, said their pieces

until their tiny voices reached

back rows where potential Baptists sat.


Shepherds, wisemen, and the Holy Family

were nervous and ready early when

the church bell called all to come

for the year’s most blessed eve.


“0, little town” seemed like home

and “peace on earth” had come.

Finally, as we held our breaths

and listened for sleigh bells


that always rang. “Merry Christmas!”

Santa called as he entered noisily

with his pack filled with boxes

especially for children


who stood and reached for sweet

salvation and love excelling

until the oldest and those

on the back row believed.


As he left Santa called,

‘joy to the world! The Lord is come!”

and the older we grew

the more it sounded like Mr. Pauley,


Sunday School superintendent,

school principal, eighth grade teacher,

father of seven, who taught us to know

there would be Christmas Eves to come


in war and peace, whenever

we heard ‘Joy to the world,

the Lord is come!” and remembered

being loved and loving.