(This blog was written as a devotion to be read at choir practice on December 6, 2012, as the St Paul Concert Choir prepares for the singing of three concerts the weekend of December 15-16, 2012.)
A week or so ago, Ted and I had to make a road trip to Knoxville, Tennessee. On the drive south, we veered a little bit out-of-the-way so that Ted could make a sales call to a steel mill in Ohio. He dropped me off at a nearby shopping mall because I was not allowed into the mill. Only weeks away from Christmas, I thought it would be a pleasant couple of hours to wander the mall while waiting for Ted to finish. I thought I might even get a start on the Christmas shopping.
The mall was suffocating. And it wasn’t even because it was filled with shoppers, seeing that it was a quiet Tuesday morning. There were so many Christmas decorations, it was like a cake that was completely over-decorated with icing and sprinkles oozing and overflowing everywhere. There were all the shiny boxed gifts that you see only in stores at the holidays littered everywhere with festive sale signs all over the place.
Do you remember the “Where’s Waldo?” books? Well I felt like I was in the middle of a Where’s Waldo book. In the Waldo books, usually other things and people look a little like the real Waldo and it makes it all the more challenging to find the real guy.
Well, here I was in the midst of a mall full of Christmas decorations … and stuff … and Christmas music playing relentlessly … and bows and Santa’s and Christmas trees and ornaments and … and I really couldn’t see the real Christmas.
I didn’t buy a single gift that day.
So, what is the real Christmas all about?
I am sure you will agree with me that it’s about family, caring, sharing, spending time with the ones we love, and of course rejoicing in the celebration of the birth of God’s Son, Jesus.
I recall a favorite old Christmas Carol, “The Little Drummer Boy.” The song was written in 1941 by the American Classical music composer and teacher, Katherine Kennicott Davis. In the lyrics the singer relates how, as a poor young boy, the little drummer was summoned by the Magi to the nativity where, without a gift for the infant Jesus, he played his drum with the Virgin Mary’s approval, remembering “I played my best for Him” and “He smiled at me”.
(Now I really have a message here folks, just give Laurel a minute to come full circle with her thoughts here!)
So – What is Christmas? It’s about people gathering to celebrate Jesus’ birth. And as a choir getting ready to celebrate by singing three Christmas concerts, I see a whole variety of characters before me. We all bring a different voice – some strong, some weak, some pitched high, and some pitched low. But I believe that God truly smiles down as we offer our gift – like the little drummer boy. No matter how large or small, strong or weak the voice we bring – as a choir we are dependent on the person next to us to lead, or to blend, but to ultimately be part of a Christmas gift – a Christmas celebration in honor of our Savior’s birth. So let’s sing our best for Him. (Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum!)
ps For my faithful readers, I apologize for not blogging for several weeks. Life has been so busy I have not been able to think; life has been more like survival lately. However, it has provided me with a lot of blog-worthy material! Between moving Amanda out, preparing for Christmas, working at a new job, and welcoming daughters and son-in-laws home – it’s been CRAZY but WONDERFUL! Please be patient as I get through the rest of December – I’ll blog when I can – but I will be back full speed in the New Year!