Joy & the Singing Christmas Trees
This past Sunday night I sat between 2 of my grandchildren, Mary Grace (aka Jewel) and Charlie, at the Singing Christmas Trees performance at First Baptist. You still have time to go as there are a few more productions this coming weekend. It is spectacular, as good as any Broadway production with the voices, music, drums, lights, drama, dancing, even acrobatic girls high above the stage dangling and spinning on curtains. I mean really! There’s something for everyone! But most importantly, the message of Christmas is clearly communicated.
Our family has attended the performance for as long as I can remember, but we’ve never taken my grandchildren until this year. It was interesting to hear and see their different responses. About 5 minutes into the program, 7-year old Jewel leaned over and whispered to me, “I thought this would be boring! But it’s great!!!” On the other hand, 10-year old Charlie squirmed and wiggled in his seat repeatedly asking, “When’s it going to be over? This is soooo long.” Sound familiar with any of your kids? I even brought Gobstoppers to distract and entertain them. After a while, Charlie had a stomach ache from too much candy. More complaining.
Finally, I resorted to mildly admonishing my grandson and pointing out someone in the audience I’d been watching, “Ok, Charlie, look at that kid several rows in front of us. Notice anything about him?” The boy had special needs, probably Down’s Syndrome, and he was having the time of his life. He clapped, whooped and jumped up and down in his seat in complete joy and awe. Charlie’s demeanor instantly improved.
The Bible teaches us to be imitators of God. What does that mean? Based on Sunday night, I’d say clapping, dancing, singing, jumping up and down and expressing the joy of the Lord in all we do. Every day can’t be a mountaintop experience. But every day can be one of peace, joy and hope. And love. That’s the message we need to be living regardless of our circumstances. Regardless of this being the first Christmas I’ll spend without my precious younger daughter and her new husband…sharing families, and it’s not our turn. Nevertheless, I need to clap, rejoice and whoop it up this Christmas. And not complain or have my personal pity party.
That’s the message of Christmas. Jesus came to bring us life. Joyful life in Christ…in good times and bad, boring or exciting. Life with candy and life without. Clapping excitedly inside and out. Special needs kids seem to “get it.” And they unabashedly express it. O, God, that I might live every day with joy and love, excited to be alive in You. Let me never be bored, never critical, not complaining, rather living my life with gratitude, joy and love. All because you were born that first Christmas, so many years ago. That’s worth clapping for.