It’s hard to believe but Christmas is just one week away.

Unlike in previous years, it will be the first time that I’ll mark the holiday season without my mother who died in July. But Momma’s hands, heart and habits have been thoroughly entrenched within our family traditions and I’m carrying on.

So, don’t cry for me. For the most part, “I’m all good.”

I’ve already checked off a few of the items on the annual “to do” list: sending gifts early to the children in the family so they can be included with the other surprises from Santa; buying my Black History Calendar and appointment book for the upcoming year; attending local performances of “A Christmas Carol,” “The Messiah” and “The Nutcracker;” and watching the TV classics featuring Rudolph, the Grinch, Frosty and of course, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang.

As I matured and began to understand that Santa Claus was a mythical figure, my parents switched the agenda. We began to take our hopes for a better world and a more positive community out into the streets of Motown. We, that is my Mom, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles – anyone who could carry a tune – would brave the ice and snow and traverse Detroit, singing Christmas carols for selected homes where Christmas was a lonely time – folks who were all alone, people who were sick-and-shut-in, families who were living in poverty and those who had just experienced recent deaths in their homes.

But what I remember most was one song from “The Sound of Music,” entitled “Climb Every Mountain.” Not only did we watch the televised musical every year together in our family room with the fireplace roaring, but my parents used it as a teaching tool about the dangers of hatred, prejudice and what can happen when good people chose silence due to fear instead of speaking out against evil.

The song takes me back to my days of childhood innocence because it was always the final selection that the all-women’s choir at our family church, St. Andrews AME, the Choraliers, would sing for the Christmas vesper service.

They would file into the sanctuary two-by-two, wearing sleek, blue satin robes. The church would be dark, save for white candles in their hands – making them almost angelic in their appearance. And they would sing to the glory of God – to the amazing things that we can do, that we can claim and that we can expect if we always remember that we are not on this journey alone.

Only one or two members of that choir are alive today but their message, their ministry and their mesmerizing ability to bring the reason for the season with profound clarity into the lives of everyone, young or old, under the arch of their voices, continue to resonate within my soul and to both encourage and order my steps.

“Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.”

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *