I was grumpy. Had been all day, because work hadn't gone well, I found out my boyfriend would be out of town for Christmas, and I spilled root beer on my winter white sweater during dinner. I was still feeling soggy. And I despise looking unkempt.
So I sat in the auditorium of my niece's high school, waiting impatiently for her concert to begin. Merry people talked in excited circles around me, trapping me in my stiff third-row seat. Who makes this kind of seating anyway? It's so uncomf--
I felt a dull jab in my side.
"Meggie, what's the deal?" my sister asked.
I shrugged but kept my mouth closed, knowing not to unleash a torrent of complaints.
"Well, perk up! It's a Christmas concert."
Right, I grumbled to myself. Don't get me wrong - I love the vocal concerts; hearing the holiday music, soaking up the youthful talent. It was just a really bad night for me. And I wasn't feeling much Christmas spirit.
I really was heartbroken that Jacob would be traveling to see his family. We'd had plans to be together Christmas Eve - and I'd been hoping, after eight years together, he'd finally propose - but he'd sprung the news he and his siblings were all going home. And no invitation had been extended to me. I had--
The house lights went black, a sure sign things were underway, and a chorus of oohs joined a smattering of gasps.
As all eyes focused on the dark stage, a small boy's voice called out. "Mama! There's somebody back there!"
Heads began to turn to the rear of the auditorium. Choir members, in black robes, were slipping through the doors, and goosebumps rose on my arms as I realized each one held a candlestick. The small dancing flames lit the carriers' faces, the sound of their a capella voices rising with the room's acoustics. As they progressed toward the stage, the pace of their single-file lines matched the unrushed tempo of the first song.
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant...
I saw my niece, Jem, whose strong alto voice I heard melt into the hymn's harmony. The slightest of smiles appeared in the flicker from her candle, and my heart warmed.
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem...
The rich voices - amazing, they were coming from teenagers - enveloped me, and I felt comforted by the lyrics.
Come and behold Him...
And suddenly my brain, that little part that affects my mood, flipped as a switch, and I felt full of love and contentment. In that small instance, gone were my grumpies. They were replaced by... by... the Spirit.
Who cared about a root beer stain, really? And work was work; I'd no reason to dwell on one day. Jacob? Well, I'd tell him I wanted to go on the trip with him. If he had some problem with that, well, then I'd stay with my own family, and reassess my relationship with him later.
Born the King of angels...
It was Christmas, after all. I should be happy, focused on my many God-given blessings.
I reached for my sister's hand and gave it a squeeze. She smiled and brushed a tear from her eye.
"I feel it, too," I whispered. "I feel it, too."
A post of Ang's got me thinking of my own high school choir experiences at Christmastime (which spawned this piece). Our A Capella Choir (juniors and seniors) did this very thing at winter concerts, encroaching upon the audience with candlelight, our unaccompanied voices filling the auditorium with the words from O Come All Ye Faithful. That was one of my favorite experiences, and I wish I could relive it.
I wish everyone the best of merry and blessed Christmases. May you be spoiled and cared for, with regard to presents and company and family, but yet with so much more. Merry Christmas!