So what do you think of when you hear the word Christmas? Do you think of shopping malls and dime store Santa’s? Do you think of the nativity scene from the Holy Land? Do you think of all the concerts celebrating glorious music? Do you think of that little child in the manger? Or do you just go hide?
Me, I think of the wonderful experiences that people can have at this time of year. Some truly profound and wonderful experiences that sometimes just creep up on you without you realizing it. For me they normally are associated with music, whether that is choral singing or just listening to songs on the radio. This year I have had the chance to experience my youngest son sing with the University of Alberta Mixed Chorus at their annual 9 lessons and carols and just prior to that the service the perform at Strathearn United Church. It was a very special and moving experience – they sounded great and it was wonderful to see and hear his joy at singing. We always knew he would enjoy it but it took years for him to realize that! I had the wonderful opportunity to follow that up with singing Handel‘s Messiah with a the Richard Eaton Singers and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra who had booked Mark Bailey, a very insightful conductor. He gave us little snippets throughout our rehearsals that just connected with us in a way not very many other guest conductors have – it was a very special event!
Edmonton is a winter city that can look wonderful during the Christmas season, like that viral video from Apple, or it can look pretty drab and plain. It can be cold and, on occasion, it can be shorts and T shirt weather, regardless it is where we live and we all just have to get used to it. The drivers can be awful, the weather could be nicer – but hey, there was a “chinook arch” (you would know that if you had ever lived in Calgary) in the sky yesterday and the weather was just starting to warm up a bit. Minus 20 is about as perfect a temperature for winter as you can find – it was a little warmer than that yesterday – enough to start turning the road snow into oatmeal, snud or whatever your favourite moniker is for that not quite white stuff.
Anyway – this season of the year brings out the stories, the traditions, the charities seeking to meet their seasonal goals, the little children looking at the mangers scenes in churches, etc. All of these things are a part of it and you don’t have to believe in God to have a wonderful time – even though he very likely believes in you!
What is it that we want out of this season? For me peace of mind would be the best gift!!