Christmas memories: Elder Quentin L. Cook Beloved song set mood on Christmas Day
It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.
Christmases with my family have been both special and spiritual. However, one Christmas that stands out in my mind as among the most memorable was when I was far from home for the first time. I was a young missionary in Swindon, England, in 1960. Swindon had been opened for missionary work approximately three months before this Christmas. Originally it was a railroad town connecting Bristol and London, but had become a significant industrial town. There were a few families and individuals who had already been baptized and confirmed members of the Church. We also had several investigators.
Our mission president had asked us to go out among the people on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He suggested that we briefly visit all of our new members and investigators, then prayerfully go from house to house teaching and blessing the people. My companion, Elder Noel D. Luke, and I were well received, and there was warmth, receptiveness and generosity as we visited the new members and our investigators.
As Christmas night enveloped us there was a surreal atmosphere in the heavens. The clouds were low and there was intermittent rain, but the moon was breaking through, and its light was dispersed by the clouds and the moisture of the rain. It conveyed a feeling of both reverence and awe. The noise from the homes was full of that wonderful family interaction that is so representative of the best of Christmas.
Suddenly that changed as we were walking along the street in a drizzle. We realized that almost every house had tuned their television sets to the same station. Harry Secombe, a well-respected British entertainer, began to sing in a fine tenor voice "Bless This House," which he had just recorded. It was a favorite of the British people as it was sung by Vera Lynn during the dark days of World War II. The words of this beautiful song ascended upward from these many houses and bounced off the low clouds radiating as if from heaven back to earth.
To us the words, by Helen Taylor, were not only appropriate, but also very touching:
Bless this house, O Lord we pray; make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout; keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimneys tall. Let Thy peace lie overall.
Bless this door that it may prove ever open to joy and love.
Bless these windows shining bright; letting in God's heavenly light.
Bless the hearth ablazing there with smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within; keep them pure and free from sin.
Bless us all that we may be fit O Lord to dwell with Thee.
Bless us all that one day we may dwell O Lord with Thee.
An overwhelming feeling of peace and appreciation came over us. I felt the love of Heavenly Father for all of His children and how the Savior's birth, example, and atonement would bless all of their lives.
Most of all I was grateful that I had been called as a missionary and emissary of the Savior to bless Father in Heaven's children.
I still remember this Christmas today with emotion and thanksgiving.