Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Christmas Cantata

From birth through my college years I attended Central Baptist Church in Memphis with my family.  Our church was known for its outstanding choir.  At least that was what every visiting preacher said, and I had every reason to believe it.  My mom sang soprano and often performed solos in church.  I could name almost every member of the choir, but given the possibility that I might forget a name, I’ll just say that every voice was excellent from soprano to alto to tenor to bass.

One of my favorite events of the Christmas season was the Christmas cantata.  We got to go to church on Sunday night and didn’t have to listen to any preaching!  We just had great music and occasionally a brief acting performance.  The pastor always managed to get a few words in at the close, but he kept it brief.  That was always a relief because I couldn’t wait for the party … I mean reception (that’s the Baptist term for party) after the cantata.  The ladies at Central Baptist always made the best food and I couldn’t wait to get at it!  There was something about finger sandwiches that just tasted better than a regular sandwich.  Maybe it was the absence of bread crust.  Anyway, I put away as much as I could get away with.  And then there was the punch.  Christmas punch made with sherbet and ginger ale.  If I could have put my face in the bowl and inhaled it I would’ve been happy.  I camped out near the punch bowl and drank as much as the ladies would give me.  I hated that I had to share with everyone else.

Sometimes around Christmas I miss those times.  I enjoy the Christmas music at my church, but that family gathering time is lost at a mega church.  I wonder if Central Baptist still has the Christmas cantata and the party … I mean reception, afterward.  Maybe Cheri will make some punch for me …

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