The calendar has turned and the month of Christmas is upon us!
For years, I confess, I thought of Christmas as less important than the Resurrection to my faith. And true, Jesus came to earth to die for my sins.
But at an advent service where the pastor spoke about "GODISNOWHERE" which can be read as "God is nowhere" or ... triumphantly ... "GOD IS NOW HERE!" I began to capture a glimmer of the miracle of the incarnation. God Himself came to earth! God truly understands my humanity because He put on human flesh.
And so, this month, I think I will focus on Christmas--all month--all the special memories. This is my first Christmas without my mother, and my son celebrates Hannukah (Happy Hannukah, everybody! It's this week.) So I expect my own celebration will be quiet. But there is so much to remember and ponder upon.
I will start with ... of course ... music. (Did you expect me to say favorite Christmas books?!) Here are some of my favorite memories ...
Christmas and music have gone together for me since I was a child. I played piano well enough in junior high to accompany our school's Christmas program. I was also playing piano at church, playing through every carol in our hymnbook to the point where even now I can almost play them by heart.
Since I was a little heavy, even then, in 8th grade I played Santa Claus in our Christmas play. (Oh, dear.) And then there was the year our church choir tried to perform Night of Miracles by John W. Peterson--we didn't--but that's when I first encountered the moving song, No Room.
I started college singing alto and then discovered I was truly a soprano, so I've learned both parts of Handel's Messiah. How well I remember sharing my copy of the music with Wesley, a Jamaican who sang tenor.
Fast forward several years, to watching my own son sing the solo in his school's Christmas program. And later, writing a musical for our church choir called "Christmas Around the World." I had discovered a book with hundreds of Christmas carols, and we managed to find music from all the continents (except the Antartic). We even sang ... in Portuguese, French, Spanish, German.
Carols, caroling, piano music, programs ... rehearsals ... joy bursting forth in song!
Two years ago, I narrated a cantata for the first time. This from the girl who
hated Speech class! And discovered that in the process of learning how to sing, I had learned how to speak well.
Last year, I was asked to play at the annual ladies' Christmas brunch at my new church ... and became instantly recognizeable as "that lady who plays the piano."
This year, I am one of the narrators of our Christmas program, as well as singing a solo. The title Christmas Offering, and my prayer is that my words, my voice, will be an offering to the God Who Came.
Please share some of your favorite Christmas music stories.