I’ve inadvertently shared a half-finished account in my last few entries. Two days ago, I hinted at more to come regarding an event at our kids’ elementary school. Last night I successfully downloaded a video showing a piece of that event onto my computer, and as I did, I wrote my entry with every intention of visually sharing it with you. I’m assuming the file was too large, so I now wave the white flag of technical ineptness and send another apology for a hint that seemed to lead nowhere. As a compromise, I will briefly try to capture the evening for you verbally.
Picture this: a church/school filled with parents gleaming with pride, coats and scarves strewn about on pews in an attempt to save the best spots from which to view their children in action. There will be sixty-plus dancers in all, set in motion by dance instructor Katie Bruckbauer (8th Street Studio of Dance), gracefully leaping through the sanctuary, down long rows of pews, past smiling onlookers young and old, some waving scarves, or wearing scarves, or holding up paper depictions of ocean waves to indicate that they are the sea while they sway. Camcorders and cameras in place, families squished together shoulder to shoulder, the children arrive from the back doors, quietly in their socked feet, grades 1 to 5, sparkling like little jewels in their holiday attire — a bouquet of black and red velvet with lots of white, fluffy collars, ties and hair ribbons. Suddenly, we hear but don’t see a man’s voice beginning the narration, the tale of love and light, of a coming event that will change the course of history and our lives personally, if we let it. And then the younger voices, two girls standing higher than the rest with mics nearby, one of them my daughter, both with French braids flowing down their backs, and behind them in scruffy clothes, a young John the Baptist heralding the gift about to arrive: “One greater than I will come soon,” he says. And woven in between the story, the changing of the guard, various grades of children shuffling on and off the altar, some staying on the risers in back the duration, and the Crucifix above hovering with the gentle reminder that Christmas is not just about a tiny baby, though it begins there. And then, finally, the last number, the one that never fails to summon happy tears or some other show of emotion from the parents whose spirits have just been tapped. As the song progresses, church lights dim until darkness comes, and the only lights that can be seen are those from the children, who are holding lit candles that emanate the message of hope. The message is delivered in the form of sweet children’s voices, grace-filled sounds that fill the church with wonder and assurance. “This is it — THIS is Christmas. Don’t forget,” are the unspoken words. The spoken/sung ones are these: