Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord… Psalm 95:1
We made it! It’s Christmas break and teachers everywhere are breathing a gigantic sigh of relief and rest! As challenging as this fall has been I’m so very grateful for nearly 80 days of in person teaching. When I look back over the past few months so much has looked different…but my favorite things have remained the same. Kids are still funny, kids are still curious, kids still laugh and fuss and learn. The kids I spend each day with have rolled with everything we’ve asked of them. They recorded their Christmas program outside, they eat their lunch in the classroom, they have survived without all those delicious homemade birthday treats the St. Mary Mom’s are famous for and the big one…no dodgeball matches!
Last week we added a new tradition to our schedule. Every classroom took to the streets with a list of people who needed some Christmas cheer and we caroled. It was the first activity parents could join us for and we loved having them. More than 300 of us tromped through town stopping at houses, spreading ourselves across the whole lawn and we sang…maybe not well, but each lawn was dotted with about 40 spaced out little bodies belting out a familiar tune. It was such a good feeling to be doing something that seemed normal and while the event was designed to bring cheer to others, we all felt happier when we walked back into the building.
The school caroling event came on the heels of another joyful event in our little town. Just a few days prior, a flat bed trailer decked out with lights, decorations, Santa and five extremely talented men pulled into town. These guys made their way through town stopping in front of church and throughout the neighborhoods for little concerts. King and Country and the Trans Siberian Orchestra have nothin on these guys! The show was amazing and the joy they brought to all the folks lining the streets was matched only by the bands wives and children that followed the float in golf carts and Rangers. The whole thing was such a gift.
In the wake of change and uncertainty and disappointment over the last many months it seems Christmas music has the power to restore order to my heart. Whether it’s kids singing Away in a Manger on a cancer patients front lawn or the school principal playing electric guitar on a flatbed wagon rolling down the street, music focused on the joy of the most blessed season of the year makes a difference. It’s funny that these voices and these songs remind us that something great is coming, even in the midst of the yuck…sort of like it all went down a couple thousand years ago. It’s a powerful reminder that some folks were too stuck in the yuck to notice it when it happened the first time but hopefully a band on a wagon and 300 kids singing on the lawn are a signal for all of us to get ready and focus on the glory of Christmas because it promises to bring the same hope, the same love and the same glory it did the first time.
I heard a Christmas song for the first time last night and it just keeps tumbling in my mind. It was beautiful but more importantly it made me stop and check my perspective. It reminded me that we can see things one way but if we switch our focus things can look all together different. The song was Mary Had a Little Lamb. You’re probably thinking “whose fleece was white as snow” I know I was but then it all changed and I was so surprised. We get so used to seeing things through our tunnel vision, trying to prescribe the outcome that we miss the surprises. The song was beautiful and ended with the words, “Mary had a little lamb and when she looked into his eyes she saw the Lamb of God.” I had tears stinging my eyes. It wasn’t fluffy with four legs, it was Jesus the Little Lamb of God, come to save the world. He came in a way so unexpected…and brought everything a hurting world needed…he can absolutely do it again…in our hearts if we’re ready! Are you ready?
A Seed To Plant: Listen to and SING some Christmas music this week. Fill your heart and your home with some joy.
Blessings on your day!
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