The Red Velvet Dress

Christmas Memories 1

I stood in the "wings," the annex the ran parallel to the main auditorium of the the church. The rustling began to quieten as proud moms and dads took their seats and settled themselves in for the annual Christmas Concert.

Lines had been carefully and sometimes painfully memorized, songs rehearsed, and now the moment, long anticipated, had finally come.

My while leotards sagged and I pulled them up. I rubbed a toe on the back of my leg, giving a last polish to my shiny black shoes. My braids were tightly bound, ends neatly resplendent in red ribbons.

But the crowning touch was the red velvet dress with the puffy sleeves and white collar, reserved especially for this occasion. The dress only came out at Christmas.

I carefully ran my fingers down its soft folds. Around the neck the heart-shaped crystal pendant sparkled in the light—a diamond resting on a blood-red pillow.

The first Christmas song was announced and the congregation rose at the urging of the swelling notes of the organ. If the roof could have been raised, it would have done so. The majestic sound of a hundred or so voices filled the room. The angels must have heard the sound and carried on those cloven wings toward heaven.

More rustling as the song ended and those present settled once more in their seats.

I stepped forward, walking slowly from the annex, across the platform. The rustling my petticoat, added to the sounds in the room, was muted by the embrace of the softness of that red velvet dress.

I turned toward the audience, folded my hands on front of me, took a deep breath, hugely conscious of the sea of faces in front on me.

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of he Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

I turned and walked off the platform, a little weak at the knees now that my part had been said.

The red velvet dress would return to the closet to await the next Christmas program. It would be outgrown and passed on to some younger cousin and eventually would disappear from all but memory.

Today, in a more popular vernacular, those lines once learned would end this way: "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name JESUS, because he will save his people from their sins" —Matthew 1:21 NIV.

The red velvet dress is now only a memory but its moment in time carries with it something eternal, the ever present reminder of something else, something that will never fade or be outgrown.

The echo comes back from those long ago moments: "…JESUS…he will save his people from their sins."

That red will never fade nor will the need for it be outgrown.


  1. I enjoyed this one, and its reminder of Jesus - He who saves!


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