It seems every Christmas season, sometime throughout the December month, I am allowed a few quiet moments when the Christmas Spirit pulls a sneak attack and punches me directly in the face. Seemingly to redirect my attention from the overwhelming hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping gifts and etc., to refocus on the more sacred aspects of the season. It happened to me again last night while at a dress rehearsal for an upcoming Christmas concert with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. I (as a saxophone player) only play on two (of about 10) pieces. In past rehearsals the director graciously rehearsed those two pieces first so I could play, and then immediately bail out. Until last night I had not heard the entire program.
Almost immediately after agreeing to play in this neighboring community group, I regretted it. Rehearsals are about a 20 minute drive from Ogden and basically a royal pain in my neck. While looking at my calendar and seeing an evening commitment every night until Christmas, I was feeling over committed, stressed out, tired and experiencing some Christmas crankiness. I was especially regretting this commitment last night when a bad address to the concert venue sent me on a wild goose chase all over the Layton/Clearfield area. I was nearly half an hour late to the rehearsal and as I took my seat in the back, was feeling so angry and upset about the situation, I actually felt a few hot tears of frustration welling up in my eyes. I sat there in silence, allowing my little tantrum to pass, half listening to the program, half running through the mile long list of Christmas still to do's, regretting my inability to say no to stuff like this.
And then it happened: Christmas Spirit. Boom! The first few songs I observed the group playing were kind of "pop-ish" in nature, such as Charlie Brown Christmas, a Jingle Bell rendition and a few others. And then the most beautiful cello solo began on this piece "Stille Nacht." It was so beautiful it sort of shook me to my emotional core. Performed by an extremely talented high school student, I closed my eyes to listen more closely, and it could have been Yo-Yo Ma performing, I wouldn't have known the difference. A flawless, slow Silent Night piece that reminded me to knock off my Christmas whiny-ness/craziness and redirect my attention where it belonged, on Baby Jesus, selfless giving and kind thoughts and deeds towards others.
Those tears of frustration quickly shifted to subtle warm tears of Christmas Spirit joy and thankfulness and I soon realized I was exactly where I needed to be. Not shopping, not home wrapping gifts, fluffing the Christmas tree, cleaning house or anything else. I was meant to be right there, enjoying the raw, pure talent of others, and helping further the "Christmas Spirit," for others.
Here's a link to enjoy that wonderful Christmas piece. Click on play, close your eyes and allow yourself six minutes of pure, uninterrupted Christmas cheer. Merry Christmas.