One of my favorite things to do is sing and my favorite part of Christmas is Christmas carols. So on Sunday I got to combine the two for an entire morning -- it was like a perfect storm (in a good way.)
It started at 7:30 am ( which was way too early and COLD, but still...) with practice with the Praise Band. Immediately following was Choir Practice. I don't routinely sing with the choir due to lack of time, however I have sang in choirs since third grade, so I really miss it, especially at Christmas time. We had a special All Church Choir for this Sunday so we could sing the Hallelujah Chorus. I could not pass that up. We had a choir of at least fifty, with brass and timpani etc. There was not much time for practice before church began and we were able to bring Handel's Messiah to life. I don't think I could ever get tired of that piece of choral music, I have sung most of it both in College Choir and in Community Choir.
After the choir sang, I moved to Kidszone. This is what our church calls "Sunday School." My friend from Praise Band plays the guitar and I lead the kids in worship songs about once a month. Today we led them in Christmas music. (I have to admit switching from singing Joy to the World with a choir and singing Joy to the World with guitar kinda hurt my head. I had to have the guitar play quite a bit until I could find the starting note. Thankfully kids are very forgiving of this -- I believe I have found my target audience for my solo career.) We added an impromptu "Jingle Bells" just for fun.
The next church service was the Contemporary service where the Praise Band plays, so it was back to singing as a backup singer. I had one more Sunday school class to lead in song and the day was over. It may sound a bit hectic (and it was) but I could not have asked for a better start to Christmas Week.
My mom and I were Christmas shopping last week. Pretty much from the start I could tell that my mom was not feeling very well. You see, my mom lives for shopping the way I live for singing. She loves everything about it and she can shop for hours and hours. After just a few minutes, I could tell her enthusiasm was just not there. Finally she admitted that she had been feeling sick for a few days and was getting more and more miserable. Of course she refused to quit shopping and go home, so we pushed on.
We were in Sears’ Men’s shop when she was feeling so bad that she had to rest and leaned upon a display table of sweatshirts. A young man working there saw her remarked that he too was feeling some of the exhaustion of the season. Then he said, “Why don’t I find you a chair.” Just to put this in perspective -- have you ever tried to find an employee help you during the Christmas season. And here was a young man offering to go out of his way to help an obviously tired woman.
Now I know that there are plenty of stories about the craziness and crazy people this time of year but to me this is what Christmas is about. We can get caught up in the madness, we can complain about the maddening people, we can argue Seasons Greetings vs Merry Christmas like it is a Holy War -- but what is truly important is how we treat each other, on a person to person level. It matters more, how did you treat the sales clerk today or how did you talk to the crabby old man in line. It did not matter if the man said Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, what mattered was the kindness in his heart. What mattered was the kindness in his actions.
So my wish for all of you is this -- I hope you find love and kindness this Christmas season.