It was Ellen, mother of the one-year-old, who first noticed: We were being blessed this year to celebrate a ‘Mel Tormé Christmas’.
That’s right: We had cause to call Mel to mind, The Velvet Fog – the multi-talented singer and musician today remembered as the composer of The Christmas Song. His signature carol is much-loved in the US for being jam-packed with nostalgic lyrical images (starting with ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…’)
While many of Tormé’s word-pictures tend to conjure a bit more myth than reality, the closing verse rang with literal truth at our place as the extended family gathered on Christmas Eve:
So, I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you
Which is to say, it was a ‘Merry Christmas’ indeed: Four generations on hand to sing and celebrate, lavishing each other with laughter and love. Santa certainly made his presence known, with gifts and wrapping paper strewn all about the family room, as we reveled on into the evening.
More importantly, Jesus was there too: the Reason for the Season. Some, in fact, had begun their Christmas Eve at Mass…breaking bread in the Eucharist, before joining the rest of the clan to break bread with family. And once gathered, we all prayed together – all 27 of us – before digging into the feast.
With all due respect to Mr. Tormé, I think that’s the thing I liked best about our family celebration:
Jesus, made present – in our family, and in our sharing.
A Christmas Gift, beyond compare.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.