As a little girl, there were many Christmas traditions
that I anticipated, including Christmas caroling. From the time that I
was too small to read the words to the carols to the time I knew the
words by heart, my family caroled with our church.
It was a rural area, which meant that we had to drive
from house to house, as the distance was too great to
walk. We visited the same homes each year. That too was part of the
tradition. Some homes were that of elderly couples. They would greet us
at the door and sing along. The home I remember more than any of the
others was that of a dear lady named Edna.
To this little girl, Edna was the
token Christmas angel. We would stop at her big, white house and pile
out of the cars. She always seemed very old to me, but that was probably
because I was very young. I still remember the sweet smell of her
entryway. We would climb the big porch and knock on the wooden door. We
were always a crowd. There were at least 20 of us to sing for Miss Edna.
Her little frame would come to the
door, and her smile was like the light of a Christmas star. “Come on
in,” she would say in a sing-song fashion as she wiped her hands on her
apron. It never seemed to occur to her that our boots were muddy and
wet. It never seemed to bother her that many of us were children with
loud off-key voices.
I anticipated Edna’s house all season
long. Her entryway had a dark wooden floor and a large staircase. Her
kitchen was always lit up and warm--just like my own grandma’s kitchen.
And the smell . . . it was heaven on earth. Edna was famous for her
peanut butter and chocolate fudge. I don’t know how she knew which night
we would arrive on her porch, but somehow she did. There was always warm
and gooey homemade fudge waiting for us.
As we entered this warm place, Edna
would sit down at her piano and play the melody of each carol. We would
sing our hearts out for her. If she would have kept playing, I promise
you that I would have kept singing. I loved to see her nimble, wrinkled
fingers play the tunes that made my heart stir. As the last song was
finished, she would head to the kitchen for a plate of fudge for her
As time went by, I grew older and so
did Miss Edna. Each Christmas her fingers grew a little less nimble. Her
small frame grew a little more fragile and her walk a little slower.
Yet, her smile never dimmed, and her fudge never stopped filling the
bellies and hearts of her carolers.
One Christmas, it was not Edna that
met us at the front door. My heart nearly dropped from my chest as I
wondered what could be wrong. We were asked to come in, but there was no
sign of sweet Edna. She did not sit at her piano, nor did she greet us
with her usual apron and warm smile. How could this be?
The man that stood in Edna’s place
explained that she was not well, but he wanted us to sing to her as
always. We offered to sing from the entryway, but this was Edna, so we
were invited to file in around her bed. There was barely room to stand.
Her white hair glowed like a halo around her lovely face. Her smile was
weak, but still as radiant. As we sang, one of the little children
looked down at Miss Edna’s face. He was three years old, and she neared
The warmth in that room melted more
than the snow from our boots. As we finished the final carol, the little
boy looked up and smiled at us too. Calmly, he whispered to the group,
“God is here.” There were few dry eyes that left Miss Edna’s house that
evening. The next day, we were informed that our Christmas angel had
gone to be with Jesus for Christmas. The carols she would sing would be
with Herald angels. She would celebrate Christ’s birth by his side.
To this day, the smell of peanut
butter fudge, the words of “Silent Night,” and the warmth of a well-lit
kitchen make me think of Miss Edna. Lessons in life are plentiful and
come in many forms. Because of Edna, I am certain of a few things. I am
certain that in giving of yourself you gain everything. I am certain
that Christmas caroling should be practiced with no reserves. I am
certain that heaven now offers more than golden streets and mansions; it
also offers Edna’s peanut butter fudge--and that is paradise.