Memories of Christmas Eve

Molly Lusk shares her memories of Christmas Eve during the War.

May I tell you of a Christmas Eve of nearly seventy years ago?  When the air was frosty, and the snow lay deep around our little chapel of St. Mary?   As there was no electricity, we worshipped by candle-light, and the heating came from a coal-burning stove.   From early morning, my Uncle John Donlevy had stoked the fire, and woe betide anyone who left the door open, whilst Auntie Lizzie scrubbed and polished and laid out the vestments and the vessels.   Can you picture the loveliness of it?   The little crib, the same one to which we still kneel today, nestling in the corner.

We had a special choir that night. In the village were billeted German prisoners-of-war, and as they marched down the road and into the Chapel, they sang ‘Stille Nacht’.   There must have been many sore hearts in our congregation during those dark days of war.   My cousin, Pat, who served Mass in St. Mary’s, was killed while coming back from a bombing mission.   He was just nineteen years old. Bernard McNamara, another altar boy, served as a Royal Marine and was spared to come home.   I was too young to realise that these German soldiers may also have been weeping for their loved ones, and their home-land on that long ago Christmas Eve.   Jesus will not have forgotten that night.

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