I was in band from 8th grade to a year in college. I played the French horn and I loved every minute of it. My high school band directors accepted nothing but our full effort while boosting our confidence at the same time. Band was like art to them. Music was meant to elicit emotional response. It wasn’t about the first places we got each year in marching contest or about how many of our students were first chair in regional and state. I think that’s why we did so well. It wasn’t just about us being the best, it was about giving something to our audience.
The end of marching season switched our gears from the energy of a football crowd to a concert hall. Our concert band director, Mr. Robinson, had us playing, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord,” which if you’ve ever heard this, know that it’s an intense, emotional piece. During marching season, Ms. Ellison would say she wanted the crowd to be completely silent at the end of a performance, unable to move with the impact. Mr. Robinson said he wanted babies crying in the audience at the end of this one! Who knew if babies would even be in the audience, but we put our all into it, playing the music that portrayed that glorious and terrible death our Savior suffered to save us all from our sins. The last note was played and what do you know? A baby was crying!!
I’m not saying it’s good to make babies cry but I think the point was made. I think that music is something that comes out of the heart. I think that’s why not all of our Christmas songs are light and upbeat. With celebration come bittersweet memories. We celebrate our Savior’s birth, but remember that he will be crucified on the cross to save the world.
This is the way Christmas feels to me this year. I’m so thankful to be around family. I’m so thankful that we finally have a house and I’m so thankful for St. Jude, but we’ve met a few folks who have recently lost their babies. I want to comfort them, but how do you comfort in this season, for that reason? When Christmas is centered around children and there’s only empty space there? Fear sneaks in and asks, “Will this be you next year?” Not that it’s about me, but this is what fear does. I pray that these families will find joy again soon, that somehow they will find God’s comfort and be able to not move on, per se, but to let God grow new, joyful places in their hearts, even though a part of their heart can never be replaced or filled.
Personally, I believe God is working miracles in Brent’s body right now and that we will have many more Christmases to celebrate with him, but no matter what a parent believes, you learn to work around the fear. I used to get immobilizing anxiety. I still have mornings where I wake up with adrenaline rushing through me for reasons I can’t pinpoint and I have to tell myself that everything is ok and to get up and greet the day.
All that to say, I LOVE Christmas. I love the romance of the winter season that calls us to bundle in scarves and sweaters. I love the smell of wood smoke in the air. I love doing arts and crafts with the kids at the table. And lately, I even love breaking up the fights that cabin fever brings on simply because I’m gone so much (well, kind of!).
This year, I’m going to celebrate the moments I get. So far, the kids and I have made paper chains with Memere (my mom, what the kids call their grandmother, pronounced Memay, like memo with may at the end, in case anyone is wondering, lol!), painted pine clippings to make our own Charlie Brown Christmas tree lot, painted pine cones for stringing up, and have been reading out of a story Bible each night. Some of these ideas we’ve gotten from Pinterest and some are simply tradition. But it’s been fun.
Today, it’s icing and snowing outside. We are stuck inside, but it warms my heart to see all of them on the couch reading books or coloring at the table. I love blankets and movies in the middle of the day, simply because it’s a snow day! I’ve drunk more coffee than necessary, simply because it’s chilly outside! My husband is bringing hay to our horses, and the previous owner of the cabin winterized the cabin so the pipes wouldn’t burst. Brent secured some wood flooring to start putting down in the kitchen and I think we may have some cabinets soon! It’s a small galley kitchen so we’ll have to be creative with storage and not letting the space feel too closed in. I’m excited to start moving in and getting our space put together and feeling like home! We’re going to hate leaving the school district because the kids’ school has been such a great support, but this move will be our very last! As in, no moving every 3 years! So I’m a little excited! But intimidated at the same time because half of the time I’ll be in Memphis and I don’t want to move the kids from their school in the middle of the year. I’m anxious to move on with our lives, but am reminded we can only go so far because we are still treating Brent’s relapse.
Here’s to choosing joy!