A Christmas Memory


Another Christmas day is rapidly approaching, and with it, another year of outcry from the so-called culturally elite .

No Christmas tree allowed at the statehouse in Rhode Island.  Arkansas school children prohibited from watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” because an atheist parent objects to the scene in which Linus quotes from Luke 2.  Nativity scenes banned across the country.

All of this flap over the celebration of the birth of Christ brought back a Christmas memory that always makes me smile.

The year must have been 1968 or ’69.  Our neighbors erected the first life-size (or nearly so) Nativity scene that I had ever seen in their front yard.  It was really something.  Stable built with sawmill slabs, floored with hay, and characters arranged (which were lighted for night-time viewing) around the manger.  It was a lot of work and quite a spectacle, especially since we lived way out in the country.  Not much chance anyone was actually going to see it — except us.  We lived right across the road, and it was practically at the end of our driveway.

It looked like this photo:


Now like I said, these folks put a lot of effort into this Christmas display.  The crowning touch was that it was wired for sound — full stereo — with a continuous loop of Christmas music playing from speakers carefully hidden in the stable.

The only problem was that there wasn’t a big selection of tunes on that loop.  The only song I can remember hearing — over and over again — was this one:

To this day, I can’t look at a Nativity scene and not hear Buck Owens.

Enjoy the Christmas season, and don’t take yourself too seriously.  It ain’t about you.


8 thoughts on “A Christmas Memory

  1. Ray, Ray, Ray. I will beg to differ with you calling–even in jest–the spiritual agnostics as culturally elite. That puts a high brow/low brow spin on spirituality which is not a part of the argument. Furthermore, the Bible indicates Jesus’ birth was in the spring, April perhaps, when the sheep were being sheared. Wall Street is more than likely the reason for the season. Don’t get me started.

    But Edward and I choked on our breakfasts laughing at this, having spent many Christmases in Rockford where it was part of the tradition to drive around admiring the rural outdoor displays in Rockford and Stewartville and even the uptown metropolis of Sylacauga. I may have even seen this very nativity scene with Buck Owens singing his heart out.

    We thank you for a Central Alabama Christmas memory!

  2. I truly remember coming to your house at or around Christmas seeing this display and thinking how “uptown” it was to have a musical display like this across the street. I can remember the owners doing their best to “disguise” the speakers in hay and against the back drop of the 100 foot tall pine trees in their yard. It’s a sweet Christmas memory you brought back for me today at a time of the year I don’t find as festive anymore. Thank you.

  3. Wish you could have seen it last night, Ray. After everyone left and I got the kitchen cleaned up and the Christmas cloth/place mats in the washer, I sat out on the front porch and rocked in my beautiful new rocker for about 45 min. to just think about family and how special it is, and how Christ came to show us how to love like Him. The Buck Owens house was all aglow with the new laser lights including the huge fir in the front. It was positively beautifully. The stars were out, too; and an occasionally plane was visible tracing through the heavens .(I had my motherly concerns that they were not being led astray by any laser lights anywhere.) Merry Christmas from Mama to my first born son. Love you and your family.

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