i celebrate the day

christmas music has always been a rather sacred thing in my household.

not that we reserve these songs for singing in December alone. Heavens no. Our favourite thing to do is drive my mother crazy by singing Good King Wenceslas at the top of our lungs...in the middle of July.

but there's also this one song...no matter when or where we sing it...I get shivers from the memories it gives me. That song is I Celebrate the Day, by Relient K.

It's a traditional Christmas carol, this I know. But the combination of piano, Matt Thessien's voice, and the beautiful lyrics enchanted my entire family from the moment we first heard it, so much so that it led to my brother buying the sheet music and learning to play the song on our rickety old piano.

And then one day, my dad got an idea.

"Why don't we sing this at the Candlelight service this Christmas? It'll be fun."

I don't know about you, but singing in front of a bunch of people is not my idea of fun. But unfortunately, the rest of my family was thrilled at his suggestion--and suddenly, we were practicing frantically, getting ready for Christmas Eve.

Now, I loved this song with a passion. It was my favorite Christmas song, hands down. But bit by bit, I found myself dreading it when it came on the radio. When we would practice, I would just mumble the words and drag my heels like the obstinate coward I was.  There were many days when said practices would end in tears. I did not want to do this, but they made me do it anyway.

{I'm not bitter at all. Not at all...}

Suddenly, it was performance day. Our church isn't at all big, but it was big enough to make me into a nervous mess. The church was lit by candles only, everyone was dressed to the nines...there were even strangers in the audience. My stomach churned every time I thought about going up to stand by the slightly-less-rickety piano, and these words played over and over in my head: we are so going to fail. 

We stood in front of everyone and sang our hearts out; or at least, most of my family did. During the first verse, my sister and I were too petrified to sing. I think I moved my lips a little and prayed no one would realize that there was no sound coming from my mouth.

but then we hit the chorus, and something snapped into the place. The music took over, and it didn't feel like we were standing before a crowd of people anymore. It was comfortable, just as if we'd been standing in our living room practicing. And I felt brave enough to open my mouth and sing.

My family is very tightly knit. We're always together, and we know how to get along, even if we aren't exactly happy with one another at that moment. But I can definitely say that, on that Christmas Eve, standing in front of friends and strangers grouped together, we'd never felt closer.

That's what Christmas is, isn't it? Being with family, holding each other close, worshiping together? That's my definition of Christmas: celebrating the day with my family, whether it be with our words, our voices, or our actions. As long as we're together, there's nothing that can compare.

{on a side note: I made a Facebook page for this blog! If you have FB, check it out and like it here.}


  1. Tears. I so needed this today. The song and the blog post. Keep writing.


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