This morning I am still relishing the memory of an extraordinary Christmas concert that I was privileged to attend last night, put on by the Community Singers of Lake Norman.
Joy was especially enhanced for me because quite a number of Asburians participate with this singing group on an on-going basis; and, I got to see all of their smiling faces last night.
I suspect what captured my attention most, and my heart as well was that the Community Singers just appeared to be having so much fun performing! Their joy spilled out and sloshed all over on me!
It sounds odd…but for a moment during the concert, I was a child again. For a moment, the memories of a yearly Christmas field trip when I was in elementary school flooded…in the words of Glen Campbell, the riverbanks of my memory.
Back in the day, we’d all hop on a school bus and travel across town to Lawsonville Avenue School in Reidsville, NC, the town where I was born, to experience a concert just like the one I witnessed last night.
As the Community Singers lauded, “Dashing through the mashed potatoes, grab your fork and dive right in,” performing, No Time to Diet…well, they had me at fork!
For me, countless points of light converge this time of year and they seem to offer so much in the way of hope. As we share joy, old memories are resurrected and new memories are recorded for tomorrow’s blessings.
Thomas Helmore’s hymn speaks to the heart of things:
O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer, our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel, shall come to thee, O Israel.
(O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, UMH #211 vs 6)
A few weeks ago, some long-time family friends offer up a broken John Deere Gator riding toy for our grandkids. I am now up to about $87.00 out of pocket for parts to get this free toy running again…but it does now run.
I was going to clean it up and wait until Christmas to let the grandkids enjoy it. But, I caved!
So, we pulled it out on Thanksgiving for giggles…literally. And, we watched our grandson Landon morph into Dale Earnhardt, jr. right in the front yard.
To date he has hit my truck, Cheryl’s car, run over a pumpkin, a Christmas light projector, a gutter drain pipe and one neighbor that happened to be standing at the wrong place at the wrong time watching him. She just wasn’t fast enough.
Even so, this child has rebirthed something priceless within me…the gift of seeing the generational old, old story come alive in a brand new way.
To sum it up in three words, a new hope. “And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new (Revelation 22:5 Aramaic Text).”
From a certain point of view I think I can make the case that the Christmas spirit is the proverbial Fountain of Youth.
Yes, I know! Life can be difficult, complicated, often dark, dire, lonely, despairing and empty. But…it is possible to recover. God did send a baby! And, this baby came to everyone.
It is possible to get lost in the story…the old, old, story…of Jesus and his love.
So, maybe John was right, “All you need is love (John Lennon, 1967).”
And, maybe John was right, “And, the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory (John 1:14a KJV).”
And, maybe John was right:
And on this morning Peace on Earth is still our fervent prayer
And, I can feel it whispered softly everywhere
And guns are called to silence and anger called to still
and brotherhood and sisterhood surrounded by goodwill.
(John Denver, Christmas Like a Lullaby, 1990)
Finally, Isaiah may have said it best, “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all (Isaiah 11:6 NLT).”
Maybe we just need to let go…give the Child a chance…let him lead.