Our mother – Catherine (Cassie) Verschoor Neely McNabb – died in 2020, comfortably into her 90’s. She was a fine, wonderful writer. Rather than posting one of my poem’s this week, I am posting a piece my mother wrote about a special Christmas memory from her childhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mom was born in 1925, so this memory springs from 1932 or so. A collection of her writings is available as an eBook from Amazon. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanuka, Kwanzaa Blessings, Assalamu Alaikum, and every other peaceful greeting is hereby extended to you and yours during the holiday season.
I do not know how old I was the year I saw and heard the Christmas angels – seven, eight or even nine. It was early on Christmas morning, before anyone was stirring. I became conscious of the presence of angels moving up and down a staircase above the foot of my bed. There was singing, a bubbly crystal-clear sound, and a swaying rhythm. It gave me a sense of profound comfort, and a feeling that all was perfect in my world just then.
Later when we were having breakfast around the tree and opening our presents, I sort of explored the subject to see if anyone else in the house saw or heard the angels. Nobody picked up on my hints or gave me a lead-in on the subject of angels, so I kept it always to myself. I really did not want to expose my wonder-vision to anybody else by actually talking about it, especially if no one else had the experience. To this day I can recall the feeling I had. Every Christmas morning I still hug it to my heart and savor it privately. I do not think it was the dream of an over-excited child. I think there really were angels in my bedroom that Christmas morning.
One other time in my life I have had this feeling of the nearness of a heavenly presence. That time I felt it was God who was near me when our second son, Joey, was baptized at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. Ralph and I were standing in the pew, Joey in my arms wrapped in an embroidered yellowed wool blanket that had been around my father when he was baptized in the same church. Tommy, our first-born, was standing on the pew before us. All at once I felt a lift to my heart, a suffusion of joy, and I knew God was there with us.
That was 40 years ago (nearly 70 years ago now). That feeling or vision has never reoccurred, but it is vivid and still real. Perhaps an opening into another world.
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A New Poem Every Monday
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Joseph Neely, all rights reserved