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Joyce's Journey

  Not My Plan



O Christmas Tree - O Tannebaum

Posted on December 24, 2017 at 4:45 PM


The small heels on my Sunday shoes allowed me to peek directly into the grey casket. Inside, my great-grandmother Ida rested on a bed of glossy white satin sheets. At eight years old, I had never seen a deceased person. My eyes examined grandma’s wrinkled leathered face filled with age spots and creases. She appeared peaceful as if she had fallen asleep in her lounge chair. Her favorite gold heart locket rested around her neck accenting her pink crepe dress with long sleeves and a small peter pan collar. She no longer needed her knit beige sweater. I wondered if she could see me from heaven.
Only three days before, she sat her blue lounge chair in her tiny living room with her black bible resting in her lap. Who would read her Bible now? Mom and dad stood in the corner of the funeral parlor visiting with cousins and friends. No one seemed upset. No one cried. I fought back a tear knowing I would never visit or see her again. Last month, we celebrated her ninety-first birthday. She had lived to be the oldest living member in our church. Recently, she had spoken about heaven and wanting to see Jesus. I wondered. What would Jesus and grandma talk about? What would she look like? Hopefully, her youthful beauty would be restored.
I wondered, what would heaven look like? Maybe, it would filled with flower gardens and rivers or a green pasture with animals and butterflies? I think grandma was ready for her heavenly journey. Her fragile body that had once bore eleven children could no longer walk or move without assistance. Her once strong deep voice had faded to a faint whisper. Now, she would no longer be heard. She had loved the old church hymns such as Beautiful Savior, It Is Well with My Soul and Blessed Assurance.
Every Christmas, great-grandma sang Silent Night in German along with her children. Maybe she is singing in heaven with her husband Albert. I never knew him. A photograph of Albert with a long beard sat on her dresser in her bedroom. Although she lived as a widow for forty years, she had kept busy with church events, sewing rugs, and helping cook for the family of her youngest son who lived on the Dakota farmstead.
She had lived a remarkable adventure traveling from Germany at the age of five with her family and arriving in America. Her parents must have felt hopeless to leave their home and country to journey to a place where a different language is spoken. I couldn’t imagine packing one trunk of belongings for a family of five and traveling by ship for three to four weeks.
This Christmas I am again reminded of great-grandma Ida and the song O’Tannebaum which she and her daughter  Louise sang together in German.
Today, I sang O Christmas Tree to myself in German to celebrate the memories of my grandmas and this wonderful gift of God’s everlasting Life.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum Wie treu sind deine Blatter!
Du grunst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit, Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum Wie treu sind deine Blatter!

  God Bless Everyone this Christmas Season!

Great Grand-daughter Joyce

Categories: Faith & Blessings