Thursday, December 23, 2010

The "W" in Christmas

The  "W" in Christmas 

    Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and  peaceful experience.
   I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card  writing, endless baking, decorating, and even  overspending..
      Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate  the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning  of Christmas.
   My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an  exciting season for a six year old.

   For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his  school's Winter Pageant.

   I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of  the production, unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with  his Teacher, she assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.

   All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come  then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the  compromise.
   So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down.  Around  the room I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their  seats.
   As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each  class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor.  Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their  song.
   Because the public school system had long stopped referring to  the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than  fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus,  snowflakes and good cheer.
   So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I  was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
   Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in  fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their  heads.
   Those in the front row - center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.   
   As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold  up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until  each child holding up his portion had presented the complete  message,
   "Christmas Love."
     The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed  her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M"  upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a  "W".

   The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this  little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at  her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

   Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the  laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw  it together.
   A hush came over the audience and eyes began to  widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the  chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

   For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud  and clear:   
   "C H R I S T W A S L O V E"
    And,  I believe, He still is. Amazed  in His presence .... Humbled by His love.

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