The second row from the alter, on the left side of the center aisle, the
first place on the pew, is now empty of her earthly presence, but her memory
lives on in the hearts of those like me, who loved her. She was a mentor,
guidance counselor, disciplinarian and friend; I know she was cherished by
her biological family, but to the faithful at Black Springs Baptist Church,
Edith Collins Hardage was a treasure, she was a prayer partner
extraordinaire and it was an honor and privilege to worship with her.
The unique "Chrismons" that adorn the Christmas tree at Black Springs
Baptist Church were a result of her creative mind; I understand that she
enlisted the assistance of the youngsters to help create the symbols; they
might be fashioned from ordinary paper, string, and glue and embellished
with simple pearl beads but to our members, they are priceless. She also
introduced the "Blossoming of the Cross" that we celebrate at Easter but
that is a story for another time.
Chrismons are representations that are used to adorn the trees of Christians
and are usually colored white and gold; the white symbolizes the pureness of
Jesus Christ and the gold symbolizes His glory. The decorating of our
sanctuary has evolved over time, becoming more beautiful as the years pass,
as the faithful volunteers skillfully adorn the church each year, they
enhance and improve the holiday settings, but those precious Chrismons
I became closer to Ms. Edith when I wrote a narrative for our church
newsletter, for several years I wrote a column for the monthly publication
that outlined details about a "mysterious church member" without disclosing
their name or any details that defined them. During those interviews she
told some awesome chronicles that will remain in my heart forever. She loved
the Lord, adored her family, enjoyed her friends, served her church and
prayed frequently for friends and even strangers.
We have a passion for unique words and frequently shared them, we had a
habit of writing our thoughts in vivid colors, and yes, we both penned
countless thoughts in our personal Bibles. She and I both love horses, and
rode in our earlier years, of course I never owned a Grand Champion, but Ms.
Edith did. We adored our two sons and four grands, two boys and two girls
each, and the register of the things we had in common goes on indefinitely.
Ms. Edith insisted that I was not to write this chronicle until I could do
it with a song in my heart and a smile on my face; I have done my best to
honor that promise although the tears are never far away when I reminisce
about my esteemed friend. Her favorite song, as her friends will never
forget is "His Eye is on the Sparrow", and for us, it has a greater meaning
because of Edith and her ministry.
So, I will end this narrative with the words she might speak, Merry
Christmas to you and your family and Happy Birthday to Jesus, our Lord and
Savior. Amen and amen.