A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Most WonderFULL Time of the Year

Last night after wrapping what I thought was my final present (whoops...missed one), I realized I hadn't set out my full manger scene. At that point, it was past midnight so it was technically Christmas Eve. "What a perfect metaphor for my life," I thought, "I've forgotten the true meaning of Christmas amidst all the trappings of the season." I got out the pieces, and assembled them on my dresser. I like this particular manger set only because I've had it for a long time (15 years at least). The figures are all children, which is cute. It's a cheap ceramic set but I love it.

This Christmas has been a busy one for a lot of reasons, and I've felt a lot of guilt about forgetting the most important things. December has been FULL to the brim and I have felt pretty sleep deprived. I lurch from one thing to the next and haven't really been good about prioritizing. However, this month I've also had some really wonderful experiences. Because most of these revolve around music, I can share some of these experiences with you.

Of the 107,000 videos of this Mormon message on YouTube, I think I've caused half of them.  It's been my sanity check to remind me to give my heart to service - to NOTICE others who need help and to actually act on it. FYI, at the end of the song there's an opportunity to download a free copy.

"What Shall We Give?" Mormon Tabernacle Choir

My church Christmas program featured this lovely "Poverty Carol," which has beautiful lyrics you can read here. The phrase "come all men who stumble" really struck me.

"Poverty Carol," Palos Verdes High School Chamber Choir

My dad also sang this peppy carol in a quartet in church, I loved it:

"Glad Noel," Lorna Linda Jr. High Choir

I discovered Francesca Battistelli's Christmas album, which I like.

"Heaven Everywhere," Francesca Battistelli

"Christmas Is," Francesca Battistelli

Ballet at Christmastime means the Nutcracker, and thanks to work, I got to see a fantastic version this year (not the one linked below, but still great).

"Russian Dance" from the Nutcracker, Performed by the Mariinsky Ballet

The capstone experience was going to a Messiah sing-a-long and being surrounded by people singing those beautiful words.  I don't think I had ever focused so much on the words when I listened to Handel's Messiah, but there are some beautiful scriptures which make up the text of that piece. I especially loved singing the names of Christ: "Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father."

"Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah, Sung by the Harlem Gospel Choir

As I was rushing around today on last errands, I saw a beautiful sunset. It reminded me of the lyrics to a non-Christmas song, Amazing Grace.  "Oh it is wonderful, that he should care for me, enough to die for me, O it is wonderful, wonderful to me." It is indeed a wonderful time of year to remember the Saviour, and all he has done for us. It's a time that can remind us of our inadequacies (we can never quite do EVERYTHING we plan to do), but can also fill us with wonder at the glory and mercy of God.

"Amazing Grace," Soweto Gospel Choir

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