Saturday, March 28, 2020

Please, Don't Touch Hands!



Through the decades I used a reading on Christmas Eve called Touch Hands. My father used it when I was young and it was one of the rare times when he was sentimental. Now our son Isaac uses the same reading in his Christmas Eve services. It was Isaac who discovered the name of the piece in which the reading is found and the author.

I would invite people to actually touch the hands of those on either side of them, even if they were strangers and most were willing participants -- it was Christmas Eve, after all. 

There were lots of requests for Touch Hands and some used it in their own homes. I ran into a young woman from one of my congregations recently and discovered that she uses it with her family. I got a kick out of a recent text message from the mother of a teen I've know since she was a wee sprout. It turns out that Touch Hands is on their fridge, so she added her COVID-19, physical distancing commentary with a post-it recently. 

I was delighted to get the message and to find out someone can see the funny side of a not-so-humorous moment we're living in. As Olivia reminds us we should touch nothing and thoroughly wash our digits!


TOUCH  HANDS –John Norton’s Vagabond 
– W.H.H. Murray (short story)

Ah friends,...dear friends...
...as years grow on...
...and heads get grey...
...how fast the guests do go
Touch hands.
Touch hands with those that stay.
Strong hands to weak...
...old hands to young...
...around the Christmas board.
Touch hands.
The false forget......the foe forgive.
For every guest will go...
...and every fire burn low...
....and empty cabin stand.
Forget!   Forgive.
For who may say...that Christmas Day...
...may never come...
...to host...
...or guest...
...again.           
                            Touch hands.

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