It's usually a little thing that makes me a weepy mess at Christmas. I'll be going through the seasonal motions, decking this and that, nogging it up with friends and family and the small Christmasy moment will sneak up on me..and...suddenly.....the heavens open up, multitudinous angel choruses sing and I receive the Spirit of Christmas.
One year, I was going about my usual holiday preps with the three young sprouts. I was sleep-deprived and functioning on a pure daily fudge and egg-nog high. We hurried to and fro the sprout's Christmas events: the school Christmas program, the church musical, the class parties and the caroling forays. Christmas didn't hit me that year until my youngest sprout's piano recital. Sprout #3 was never much of a piano (or anything else for that matter) practicer, but he had prepared a little ditty for the recital. Maybe it was the fact I was actually sitting in a cozy chair for first time in weeks, or maybe it was because I adored his saint of a piano teacher, but when his 6-year-old fingers stroked the simple melody of Silent Night.....Christmas came to me. My heart had suddenly been sprinkled with meat tenderizer and I revelled in the magic of the season.
Being around the horses and our crazy donkey during the holidays held special meaning for me, as well. Running out to feed the animals on Christmas Eve, I'd tell them of the special role their ancestors played in the birth of Jesus-especially the role of the ass. Asses are blessed creatures in the Christmas story and on Palm Sunday. Aren't we glad the Bible holds a special affinity for asses?? Gives me hope.
This year, the small thing setting my stone-heart to mush is a song. We practiced it in church choir. It rattles in my brain like the Salvation Army bell-ringer. It's called Before the Marvel of this Night, by Carl Schalk. I want to share verses of it with you this week as we prepare for Christmas.
Maybe it will be the small thing encouraging your heart to a fuller understanding of Christmas.
Before the marvel of this night, adoring fold your wings and bow
then tear the sky apart with light and with the news the world endow
Proclaim the birth of Christ and peace, that fear and death and sorrow cease
sing peace, sing peace, sing gift of peace. Sing peace, sing gift of peace!
The marvel of the night is coming! I'll reveal the rest of the verses as we lead up to Chrismas eve.
Keep looking up.
Angel-wing love to all.