Christmas · GIVEAWAY! · Jesus

Starry, Starry Night – (& Christmas Giveaway!)

shutterstock_Christmas mug
Christmas morning – music and chocolate. (Photo: Shutterstock)

“Play Starry, Starry Night!”

For as long as I can remember, my Dad played the acoustic guitar for his daughters. And for as far back as the sweet sound of those guitar melodies go in my mind’s ear, I can remember asking him to play Starry, Starry Night (or, Vincent). Over and over I’d ask. And again and again he would play. Fingerpicking like a master musician. Getting lost in the sounds of beauty. That guitar playing will always be a part of my youth – of my heart. And since it’s my turn to share on the Fa, La La, La-Giveaway blog tour today, this is my favorite Christmas memory…

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I woke up early that snowy weekday.

I expected Dad would go to work, and the bus would come and pick us up for school like usual. But not this morning. Dawn hadn’t yet tipped the edges of the sky. I looked out the window and could just see the outline of snow falling against the black night, like confetti dancing in front of the glass panes. And so I walked out to the living room in my nightgown and socks, rubbing my eyes in leftover sleep, wondering why the day had not yet begun.

The Christmas tree was lit. The room was warm, welcoming. A fire burned on the stone hearth. Confused, I trekked into the kitchen. I found my Mom there and asked if it was the middle of the night.  She said No, that it had snowed quite a bit – was still snowing, in fact – and that school had been cancelled. My Dad wasn’t driving to work either. It didn’t happen often, but the Ohio roads were not passable. It was early morning still, but we had been gifted with a rare Christmas snow day together.

“Do you want some hot chocolate?” she whispered. (My sister was still asleep and we didn’t want to wake her.)

I remember smiling. And nodding. I knew the hot chocolate would be handed to me in my own special Santa mug (the one we used each year only at Christmas). It would have marshmallows and a spoon for sipping. And I could have as much of it as I wanted.

I wandered into the living room. And there he was — my Dad. The architect who always wore a suit and drove off to the office in the morning. He sat on the edge of the hearth, having just taken his guitar from its case. He sat there quietly, with gentle hands testing and tightening the strings. I sat on the couch and curled my little legs up under me. And I said what I always said: “Play Starry, Starry Night for me, Dad.” 

DadAnd he did. He played the world awake. He played until the sun came up and a memory encased itself in my heart. There was beauty and security and warmth in that room. And as the Christmas snow fell and the Santa mug was emptied of its contents, I listened. I watched the snow outside. I gazed at the twinkling of our tree. And I saw my Dad, who’s gone now and still has no idea what a memory he made for me that day. I’m not sure I ever told him what that morning meant to me. And if gifted with any Christmas wish? I think I’d go back. I’d probably stay on the couch a little longer. I’d drink a little slower and listen a little deeper. I’d ask him to play, and play, and play for me.

It’s the second holiday season we’re spending without my Dad and in many ways, this one has been tougher on my heart than last year. We’re a full year down the road. It’s been more than 365 days since I’ve heard his voice. I didn’t buy a birthday gift or cook him a Father’s Day meal this year. We didn’t have any of our usual mid-day business lunches, or holiday morning coconut mocha coffee. I couldn’t tease him about his football team’s terrible season, and he wasn’t there to tease me about mine. And today, it’s the first time I’ve dared listen to this song without my Dad as the one playing it.

 

 

One of the lyrics in the song is: “And now I understand.”

Yes, now I do. Christmas memories can be bittersweet. They can be glorious and full of magic. And laughter. And Santa mugs teeming with marshmallows. And they can even hide a few shadows of pain too. But the point is – the one thing I must remember alongside that snowy, guitar-filled morning – is that it did happen. I lived it. I had the blessing of that gift. And the God who cared enough to give it to me that day is the same God who saw my tears last year, and the same, loving Father who’s drying them today.

I pray your snow day memory — whatever your Starry, Starry Night happens to be — I pray it’s sweet and blessed beyond measure. Someday, today will be a memory, won’t it? And someday, many Christmases from now, I’ll get to hear that guitar playing again. (Thank you, Jesus, for the treasure of my heart and the hope of heaven.)

When that day comes, I know what I’m going to ask Dad to play. : )

With Joy in beloved Christmas memories,

Kristy Initials

 

CLICK HERE to enter the Fa, La, La,  La-Giveaway — a chance to win an 8-author prize pack valued at over $100!

39 thoughts on “Starry, Starry Night – (& Christmas Giveaway!)

  1. Hello Kristy, I received your book & your Dad’s CD… thanks so much, I am so enjoying listening to it, My dad would have loved this music 🙂 . . Merry Christmas !

  2. I have read this post several days and am so blessed by it. Love of music and remembrances of those we love, dearest Lord, thank You for Your blessed Hope. So thankful for Him. Merry Christmas. My life verse: Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. Psalm 119:111. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    1. Kathleen ~ We’ve known each other virtually for the last couple of years, haven’t we? I think I even sent you a Jane Austen tea towel once. ; ) It’s my sincere pleasure to come here and find a comment from you. That warmed my heart, friend. THANK YOU for your always-encouragement. I am a very grateful recipient.

      Kristy

  3. Thank you for sharing such a precious memory with us. My Dad passed into heaven 19 years ago. He was born during WWI and served in the Army in WWII and the Korean War. He also wrote some songs and had a jukebox route at one time. 🙂 The love off a father Is truly a special thing for a girl to experience growing up.

  4. Oh Kristy, this post is just beautiful. I love how your dad’s legacy continues on through your memories…and what obvious love your family shares. Hugs!

  5. Where’s the tissues?? I want to listen to the song but I’ll have to wait a bit. I feel the same way every time we sing “I’ll Fly Away” in church. It was my grandfather’s favorite song and I picture him flying with his arms out, full of joy, every time.

    (And we had special Christmas mugs, too! I need to get some to make similar memories with my daughter.)

    1. Well… we also have something in common. My Dad played in a dulcimer group for more than 10 years. The last song they always played was also his favorite song – I’ll Fly Away. It’s the last song that was played at his memorial service. What a beautiful picture of your grandfather you shared! Thank you so much for stopping by to add your encouragement. ; )

  6. Kristy, thank you for sharing your special memory of your Dad. My Daddy entered Heaven on January 15, 2012. His birthday is December 26. The holidays are still difficult at times. Grace to you and your family.

    1. Hi Caryl ~ Yes. I understand. The holidays are difficult. I had no idea how much so until we entered them last year. At times, it feels like we’re in a fog with it all. Thank goodness for grace. And for the love and care of friends who have had a similar journey. Praying peace and grace for your holiday. ; )

  7. A very special memory. This will be my 13th Christmas without my mother and you’re right the memories are bittersweet. I ask myself regularly what memories am I giving my children and I truly hope they’re good ones. Merry Christmas
    Blessings

  8. What a special memory and a beautiful post! I’m sharing this in my new “Sharing work” post tomorrow (Monday.) Thank you, Kristy, for having the courage to post this.

  9. What a wonderful memory of your dad. One of my favorite Christmas memories is hearing my dad read the Christmas story to us from Luke 2 every Christmas eve. My dad was a hard working farmer who didn’t usually have time to read to us; perhaps that’s why this memory is so special.

    1. Pam ~ YES! We always, always read Luke Chapter 2 every Christmas morning before eating breakfast or opening a single gift. It’s also a special memory you and I share! ; )

  10. Beautiful post, Kristy, with such touching memories!!

    I have such wonderful Christmas memories of my grandparents – my grandmothers’ numerous kinds of Christmas cookies baked for family and neighbors, her aluminum Christmas tree with the color wheel rotating on it and the “bubble” Christmas lights, my grandfather passing around a platter, after Christmas dinner, with many kinds of candy – which he had handpicked from glass bins at the store. My grandmother’s birthday was Dec. 22nd and mine is Dec. 25th – we always celebrated jointly.

    SO blessed to know I’ll be seeing them again one day and will again hear my grandfather’s laughter – he loved to entertain us with his stories and the jokes he played.

    Prayers for a blessed, peaceful Christ-filled Christmas!!

    Shared post!!

    1. I love the Christmas memories you shared, Bonnie! I bet those Christmas cookies and the candies were wonderful. AND – Happy Birthday (Bon Anniversaire), friend. Hugs!

  11. Thank you for sharing. My father also played the acoustic guitar, also the electric guitar, the banjo and the harmonica. Some of my favorite memories are of the times he played or sang and played. Great memories. I’m so glad I know he is waiting for me in heaven.

    1. Kay ~ Sounds like my Daddy! He also played the dulcimer, mandolin, and banjo. I think he played a bit of the harmonica too. ; ) So glad our dads are waiting for us in heaven.

  12. Aww Cristie that was awesome.. My dad passed on Christmas Eve 15 years ago & I still miss him. But… we celebrate him with memories & smiles on Christmas Eve.. thanks for a wonder story..

  13. I wept at the beauty of your story and the memory that you shared with us. I remember Christmas’s from many years back and shed tears for those who “have gone ahead” and for those who physically far away from me. Then I recall that I have that “One who sticks closer than a brother” who came as a babe, grew into a man “like as we” and died a death that I might have life eternal. There is an old hymn “Never Alone” last verse which says” He died for me on the mountain,
    For me they pierced His side,
    For me He opened the fountain,
    The crimson, cleansing tide;
    For me He’s waiting in glory,
    Seated upon His throne,
    He promised never to leave me,
    Never to leave me alone. May we remember we are never alone!!!

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