As a choir boy, I have performed Christmas concerts in all but a handful of years since I hit junior high school. I mean I could probably count the number of years in which I've not performed an actual Christmas concert of some kind (not counting ward choirs) on one hand and have fingers left over. That's a lot of Christmas music performed over the course of, what, thirty-five years, give or take.
I'm listening at the moment to the broadcast of the St. Olaf's Christmas celebration on PBS. As they always do, the choirs severally and individually are performing beautiful (and unabashedly) Christmas music. Some of it is very familiar to me, some is not. Because it's St. Olaf's, the performance is interspersed with scriptural readings and lessons.
[Side note of no particular significance except to me: With the near universal adoption of the American Standard and other contemporary transcriptions of the Bible, I find these readings have far less impact when not using the poetic language of the King James version. One could argue that's just the Mormon in me, and that's okay. I still really, really miss hearing it in these concerts. When they read the Christmas story from the American Standard version, it sounds more like a reading out of the Federal Register than holy scripture.]
With the busy schedule of our own Anaheim Mormon Chorale this season, I found myself grousing privately that I wished I could just for Pete's sake sit and listen rather than have to get dressed in my monkey suit and sweat myself through one more concert. Yet here I sit listening to these young choirs wishing I could be up there with them, singing my heart out in awe of the Gift of Christmas who would redeem us all.
The Chorale is pretty much done for the season. We have one more engagement to carol at a local assisted-living center on Christmas Eve (which I hope to make if we're in town that afternoon), but our own Christmas concerts are done until next year. No more "Carol of the Bells," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," or Messiah Sing-Alongs in 2007. That thought leaves me just a tad melancholy.
So now I have my chance to sit and listen. Granted, I'm at home, sitting at my computer, listening to a broadcast on TV, but I'm listening. And secretly wishing I were there, watching the conductor for my cues, and hoping I'm not over-singing. It's a wonderful way to feel the Christmas spirit.
Merry Christmas, and may your New Year be blessed with opportunities to learn and grow.
God bless you.