December 23, 2012

Christmas Musical Celebrations

Music is so important to our family, especially at Christmas time.  Come November 1st the kids breathlessly await the beginning of Christmas music on our local radio station.  We also lament that they stop playing it at midnight on Christmas Day.  Of course we could just put on our CD's or the iPods and hear Christmas music as much and as long as we'd like and we wouldn't even have to hear Moriah Carey sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You."  But there is something special when the music is coming from the radio.

I think it has to do with the idea that people spend months waiting for Christmas.  Come July there are Christmas decorations in the stores.  Then society spends Thanksgiving to Christmas in a frenzy getting ready for the holiday.  The whole time griping and complaining about how much they have to do and how miserable they are.  When all the work is done, the preparations made and you can finally just relax and bask in the light of our Savior everyone stuffs their faces, opens their presents, and moves on to the next thing come December 26th.  The radio station is just a picture of our sad modern society.  On December 14th Emma Rose and I went Christmas shopping.  There were no Christmas wraps or decorations to be had.  In their place were Valentine's day goods.  

December is a very busy time for our family.  With three finals on top of all our regular activities there is much happening around Wachter World.  I try to keep the schedule as light as possible not even making appointments for checkups or tending to other business that can wait until after January 1st in hopes that we can go slow and enjoy this wonderful time of year.  Yes, one of these days I need to bite the bullet and make my way to motor vehicles to renew my driver's license.  But it can wait until January 2nd.  We do try to make lots of time for visiting with friends and  work in Christ centered celebrations of the holiday.  

We kicked off the Christmas season with a classical concert of flutes.  I've never been to a concert with all flutes so it was quite a new experience.  Samuel was excited to have his first gingerbread man of the  season at the post concert party.

While we were at Epcot the first week of December we were able to see the Candlelight Processional.  It was rather surreal sitting in a place where it was 80 degrees and surrounded by commercialism totally devoid of the Lord and hearing so clearly the beautiful story of our Saviors Nativity and a clear account of the Gospel message of the cross.  But there it was clear as day.  I found myself looking at the hundreds of people performing and listening to the incredible concert and wondering to myself, "HOW CAN THEY NOT GET IT???" The musicians and choir were both exquisite and the girls were delighted to see Andy Garcia, who was the guest narrator for the night.  An added bonus was at various scriptures Mr. Garcia would first read in English and then translate in his native tongue.  I've never heard Spanish sound lovely.  True to Disney form, even the sign interpreter was so beautiful and poetic.  I was very blessed watching her as she performed the various musical selections from "O Holy Night" to the "Hallelujah Chorus."

Typically, as soon as we return from the beach in October our church is in full swing for weekly practices of our Christmas Cantata.  This year things were a lot different for us and for our church.  Our Pastor decided to try something different.  As a result much of the program was trial and error.  To make matters more complicated Allen had spent all year planning a surprise trip for the family.  He intentionally chose the first week of December because the program has historically been around the middle of the month.  However, when November rolled around our Pastor chose the 9th.    Since we were traveling, our kids didn't even get their parts until a few days before the cantata and were not present for even one rehearsal.  They practiced and perfected their scripture memory while we were away.  We returned after a 16 hour drive very late the night before the actual show.  The next morning not only were we exhausted but the kids were surprised to hear they would be singing couple of songs.  They knew the music well enough but not being at any practice it was amusing watching them try to figure out where and when to be.  But it came off beautifully and as always it was a huge blessing to us and to the many guests present.

I don't have even one picture of this evening since I was occupied from the time I arrived until the time we left with the many visitors who joined us.  You'll have to take my word for it that the program was beautiful, the kids looked great, the fellowship was delightful and the food delicious.

While technically not a Christmas celebration, Allen and I remember our anniversary on the 20th of December.  We usually go to dinner and find a performance of something or another for the evening.  We've done lots of neat things over the year from going to DC to see the National Christmas tree, performances of the Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story, local dinner theater, and even just staying home and eating carryout and watching It's a Wonderful Life in our pajamas.  One year we had a blizzard and cancelled our theater tickets for the night to go sled riding.

This year he suggested a concert performance of Handel's Messiah.  This is one of my favorite pieces of music and it has many sweet Christmas memories for me.  Allen is not a fan of classical music and  has never been to a performance of The Messiah so it was all new to him.  (He loved it, by the way).  When I was a girl I remember going with my father, always the weekend of Thanksgiving, to hear the Naval Academy perform this piece with the choir of Hood College.  Tickets being way too expensive for our crew, one of the things I do now with the kids is to get up a few hours early one day and have cocoa and coffee by the light of the tree while we listen to the Messiah performed by the London Philharmonic.  They all enjoy it very much but Elisabeth particularly loves this music and will often ask me to play it for her.  The other day while she and I were home alone wrapping Christmas presents we listened to it three times through.

I love to hear about other's Christmas traditions.  So I am wondering how do you make time for Christ in the Christmas season and what role does music play in your celebration?

1 comment :

  1. Music plays a HUGE role in my family's Christmas celebration. Like your church, ours also has a traditional Christmas program the first Saturday of December, the only time I haven't participated in that was during the years I was at college and had the opportunity to play in the orchestra for the local performance of Messiah - such incredible, incredible music! One of my favorite, simpler, holiday music traditions is that when my brothers and their families are over for Christmas we will often gather around the piano and just sing Christmas carols together.

    How neat to be able to see Christ's love and message through a secular Christmas program! We are so blessed to know Christ's love personally and understand the true meaning behind this overcommercialized holiday!

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