Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve along the Carolina Coast

It's Christmas evening and everyone is in bed. I hope your day was wonderful. I don't think I'll write about Christmas day in the blog, but let me share a few memories from yesterday, Christmas Eve, which is even more magical than Christmas day. From this post, you can gleam something of my "raising up" along the coast. Blessings to you all...

Walking along the Masonboro Island side of Carolina Beach Inlet, we’re joined by porpoise 20 feet offshore, swimming in pairs through a deep cut. When they get to the point, between the inlet and ocean, they head further out into the water to where gulls enjoy a feeding frenzy. The birds fill the sky like Japanese Zero’s at Pearl Harbor. Every few seconds one or two of the birds pull back their wings and dive into the water, creating a splash upon impact. Those who get lucky stay fly away with their spoils, those who missed their dinner, return to the bomber squadron and prepare for their next attack. Flipper and his friends join the fun. Fish jump above the water as the big mammals’ dive into their school and feast. One animal’s fun creates terror in another. Soon, the porpoises have had enough and begin to play. Several pair, with the grace of figure skaters, surf. Parallel to each other, they ride the wave, cutting back and forth in unison, only to break away right before it breaks. Others swim in pairs just behind the breakers, their bodies arching out of the water, exposing their dorsal fins in unison. A few minutes later the birds settle down, mostly sitting on the water, bouncing over the choppy swells. The school of fish that provided their midday snack has moved one. Soon, the porpoises leave too. We resume walking on the beach, collecting shells for my daughter to take back to her school.

After our own seafood dinner (crab soup, several varieties of grilled and fried fish, sauté shrimp, hushpuppies and cole slaw), we head to church for the candlelight Christmas Eve service. I watch my daughter as she sits between my mother and me and realize things haven’t changed much since I first attended this service. I’d been just a couple years older than she is now. We sing the same carols and hear the same scriptures read and listen to a sermon on how God works through ordinary folk just like us. It’s all so familiar, yet comfortable in its familiarity. At the closing of the service, everyone holds a candle as we sing Silent Night. My daughter’s face is as serious as her black skirt and red blouse, as she looks into the flame that’s reflected in her eyes. The candlelight makes her blonde hair shine elegantly. I’m glad to be able to share this moment with her at this place where I grew up. I’m glad she can be here with my parents. I’m glad she’s beside my mother. We sing Joy to the World as we leave, our candles still burning and the sanctuary lights still off. At the door, we extinguishing our candles and hand them to an usher so they may be used another year. On the lawn of the church, we stand around and talk. I greet folks I haven’t seen in years. Many have to introduce themselves. Most complain about the cold, but it’s in the mid-40s. Several joke that it mustn’t be cold for me. They’re right. "We wouldn’t be lollygaging outside like this, not if we were up in Michigan," I respond in an attempt to humor them. Soon, everyone heads home. It’s time to get children of all ages to bed before Santa swoops down from the North Pole.


  1. What a lovely things you shared in this post...It is so idylic..How wonderful to read this...and about church,too and your daughter...Lovely that she could experience something that you did when her age...

    Very Merry Christmas to you...I'm here from Michele tonight...(once again, today!)

  2. Truly beautiful, Sage. You have a gift for description and bringing people into your world that is amazing.

    Love how you use words; barely talked about your daughter yet she came alive
    Merry Christmas,

  3. There is nothing more beautiful as a Christmas Eve service. The way you describe it with your daughter, it was just breathtaking. Thank you for sharing!
    Here via Michele's tonight!

  4. It sounds like a wonderful Christmas Eve, Sage. I sure would have liked your dinner! I know that your mom was glad that your daughter was there beside her, too.

    About the matches: no only will they be scarce, as most of the places are not providing them anymore, those we have will become very valuable to collectors, both of just matches, and of the individual places they advertise. Save them, Sage - and we can sell them on ebay to make our pile!

  5. I changed my blog address you can find me at Please update your blogroll if I am on it.

  6. I agree that Christmas Eve is often more spirit-filled than Christmas day. And "Silent Night" will do it every time. The dolphins on Christmas Eve were a complete surprise.

  7. That sounds awesome...glad your daughter got to share it with you and her grands. It is, indeed, magical the night before.

  8. Oh, this is magical. I think that spending the holidays with a child really reminds us what the season is all about. it is magical.

  9. Hi Sage--I'm happy to inform you that you have won an award! Please go to the following link to collect your award!! Congratulations!

    p.s. You'll have to cut and paste the address as it doesn't fit here in it's entirety. You'll have to omit the space I put after the 'c' on the first line of the link, and the space I put after the 'y' in the word 'buddy'. If you have a problem, just email me and I will email you the chicklet!!

  10. Beautiful, Sage. Wishing you a wonderful New Year ahead :)

  11. Thank you all for your comments and a special thanks to bhakti for her "award." I'm still travelling (will be mostly on the road until January 7). I'll have to figure out how to put my award in my blog after that date.