Love has come - a light in the darkness!
Love shines forth in the Bethlehem skies.
See, all heaven has come to proclaim it;
Hear how their song of joy arises;
Love! Love! Born unto you, a Savior!
Love! Love! Glory to God on high!
Love is the gift of Christmas,
Love! Love! Praise to you, God on high.
Mary Aalgaard, Andy Miller, Krista Rolfzen Soukup
I am all aglow with feelings of love this holiday season. (Don't get all excited. I'm not referring to romantic love. I'm still happily single.) I am basking in the warmth of friendship, the gift of local talents, and offers of generosity.
Andy's brother Nick manages Prairie Bay the best local restaurant in the Brainerd lakes area, where Krista and I had dinner on Saturday night. Andy stopped in for a quick bite of bruscetta (their specialty), and said hello to us before scooting back to warm up for the From Age to Age concert. The music was pure bliss. Andy's dad, George Miller, was a guest conductor for one of the songs. He turned to the audience and said that he was so proud of both his sons, one who feeds the body, the other who feeds the soul. After the song, Andy said that was one of the top three special moments of his life, to be conducted by his dad.
This professional choir invited the local 9th grade and high school kids to sing one song with them. What a beautiful sound and image they created together. From Age to Age currently has three sopranos, three altos, four tenors, and four bases, including the conductor and artistic director Andy Miller. Those 14 voices sound like a whole host of angels. The rafters were simply bursting. Patricia Lundeen was a guest accompanist for the songs that weren't done acapella. Their pitchman gives them one note, and they all come in perfect harmony. It is breath-taking. They sang many classics, including parts of Handel's Messiah, but the song that moved me to tears was a new choral version of O Holy Night by Andy's friend and composer Karissa Dennis. It was her gift to From Age to Age to perform it, and their gift back to her to hear it in all its glory. This is the kind of encouragement and support in and for each other in the arts that I love to see, and hear.
Andy and I chatted afterwards. We thanked each other for our gifts, him for his talents and music, me for my articles and support of their group. He said that my words reminded him why they do what they do because artists can get bogged down in the daily grind, too. We rehearse and rework, and schedule, and meet with delays and frustrations, and wonder "Is it worth it?" I shared with him the best words I've heard from a musician/teacher, Kay Hoffland. She has been performing and accompanying musicians for years. She helped my sister and me with a show. After rehearsal she said, "You've worked hard. You've made it the best you can, now, enjoy." I saw the enjoyment in the eyes of the performers at this show. Andy was most definitely in his bliss.
Ah, and enjoy we did on Saturday night, the food, the company, the music, the Love of Christmas. And, today, as I was rehearsing our "Little Drummer Boy" number with my boys and a couple others from church, I felt the joy. We got our tree up, not a real one, we sort of missed the deadline on that, but an artificial tree that my ex-husband dropped off because he felt badly about not getting a real one here, yet. See, he still helps us make the holidays bright. Before the boys went shopping with him, they gave me hugs and kisses and said to wait to decorate until they got home.
Like I said, I am all aglow with Christmas Love.
Peace to you as you prepare for time with family and friends. Let love be your theme as well.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What surprises have happend already in your holiday prep? What are you most looking forward to with the holidays and new year?