I'd been given fair warning before the program started, but I forgot to stock my purse with kleenex before leaving home. That's why I stopped for some toilet tissue before the lights went down. You know, just in case. I didn't really expect to use it. I mean, how many church Christmas concerts have I sat through in my thirty-seven years, right? But I prepared myself just the same.
What I had not prepared myself for, however, was the raw beauty of a single moment in that program. I was not prepared to be moved to tears not just once, but twice as I witnessed it again the next night. Same exact concert, same exact auditorium. But I was. Moved to tears, that is. Have you ever experienced something so pure, so perfectly exactly the way it was supposed to be -- that you get overwhelmed to the point of tears? Not anxious tears. Not even happy tears. But tears of true, deep joy that can only be triggered by something so beautiful as little girls singing "Silent Night". Like the tears that filled my eyes as I watched the perfect execution of Irish dancers as they pounded their feet on the stage in front of me the night my husband surprised me with tickets to see "River Dance". The emotion caught me by surprise that night, just as it did at the church Christmas concert last Friday and Saturday. I had not prepared myself to be overcome with the beauty of the whole idea of Christmas as I listened along with the angels to twenty or so little girls singing sweetly about the best thing ever to happen to mankind.
Twenty sweet, beautiful little voices reminding me that, because of Christmas, because of Jesus, I can sleep in heavenly peace. The only real peace. Twenty sweet little voices telling me that, although it was most likely NOT a physically silent night (i.e. virgin woman giving birth -- without epidural!!!, not to mention mooing cows, baaing sheep and freaked out father), all the troubles of this loud horrible sinful place called earth can now be silenced. Every night. From now on. Because Christmas. Thus -- perhaps one of the most popular Christmas carols of all time.
So, what was it about that particular rendition of the song that I'd heard probably hundreds of times before? What was it about that concert that touched me so deeply? Well, I'm sure it had to do with the fact that my daughter's sweet voice was among the twenty. But, more than that, I believe it had to do with my heart. And the silent peace it knows. And how amazingly, awesomely grateful I am to have it. Even when the tumultuous schedule that is often Christmas tries hard to break that silence. Even when the anxious craziness of motherhood presents a barrier to said silence. Even when my four-year-old ends up in the hospital for three days and my husband's job is much less than stable and the wind blows out the electricity and . . .
And that's why Christmas! Hallelujah! That is why Christmas!!