Monday, December 15, 2008

Sacred Ground

They were singing on sacred ground yesterday. Our daughter and a dozen or so hand-selected members of her choir. They had been hired to sing Christmas carols at two different homes. They've done this many times in the past few weeks as a way to help with the expenses of taking a 40-member high school choir to Europe next summer.

But these two gigs were different. Inside each of these homes lay a dying man and a wife who loves him. And someone who loves them understands that music is healing and so these dozen kids, whose lives are bursting with sunshine, agreed to walk alongside some people who are walking in the shadow of death.

No corporate holiday party with fancy dress and catered food. No Christmas tree lighting for politicians. Just two ordinary houses where the scents of sickness overwhelm the scent of pine.

I was stirring rice when she came in, looking graceful and beautiful in her choir dress. A woman standing before me, no longer my little girl. She told me she was glad she went even though it was terribly sad. An immature boy made a comment about the smells which made her angry. One of the wives requested a particular Christmas carol the kids didn't know. Our daughter couldn't recall the name, but said the woman told them it is a song about giving up all hope but then remembering that God lives. And God provides Hope.

I guessed the carol to be "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." And indeed, that was the song. I stopped stirring the rice and explained the lyrics and the songwriter's frame of mind when he wrote it. And then my grown-up little girl and I stood in the kitchen and cried.

No, God is not dead, He doth not sleep...peace on earth, goodwill to men.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Thank you, Lord, for Christmas.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1 comment:

bfahs99 said...

Your daughter is wise beyond her of the things I love best about her. I continue to marvel at the love and compassion that pours out of your family so unconditionally. Christmas blessings from across the alley!

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