It was a bare, basement room accessed by a narrow and steep flight of stairs that kinked halfway down. At the bottom was a stark hall leading past the traffic court class, and finally to the room where two bare tables had been set up, faced by three rows of folding chairs. My daughter-in-law had obtained some poinsettias for me and I spread a table cloth and added the red and white plants to either side. Michael Young set out books, and a bowl of candy. It now looked like a holiday. But best of all, was the good-humored, smiles that greeted me as if I were a long-time friend. The cold passage to the room was forgotten in the warmth of what we created inside.
My favorite part of last night’s book signing for Sing We Now of Christmas was meeting the other authors that had come to sign or sing. I enjoyed hearing about their books, stories and projects and getting to meet face to face the people behind the names I knew from an author forum. One author even read to us, which is always a treat. It was good to meet Daron Fraley, who had swapped books with me long ago when we both needed Beta Readers. I can’t wait to read his Thirty Six. I became intrigued with everyone’s books and have begun to read their stories this morning. One of the stories from the anthology that I look forward to is broken into four parts to be read on four different nights. It is the story behind the carol “Good King Wenceslas.” When Ryan Larsen, the author, told about it, he captured my interest.
After getting to know each other, talking about our writing, and of course, signing books (keeping track of who signed what became more like a game of cups and finding the hidden ball), we gathered around the piano. There, Michael Young, compiler of the book, played while we sang carols. (I’m also going to get his book, The Canticle Kingdom.) Everyone who was present joined in singing. Michael and Ryan both sing in the Tabernacle Choir, adding depth to the gathering. Angie Lofthouse, a fellow author, also has a beautiful voice.
We sang several carols—each wonderful and beautiful—finishing up with “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” with its rich melody. (This song’s link takes you to a breathtaking video.) It felt like Christmas had arrived.
Afterwards, I indulged in spontaneous hugs and we all said our good-byes.
I’ve realized the spirit of Christmas doesn’t happen automatically. We have to put ourselves out there and create it.