Twas the Day Before the Night Before Christmas…

…And all through the apartment, every piece of furniture was moved to make room for the tree, gifts, cards, special cookies, and food prepared about three days in advance. If my mother would have her wish, she would have already had the family dinner and have cleaned up. She starts making lists for Christmas dinner on October 1st. I have to gently tell her that green beans won’t last ten days in the refrigerator without wilting and turning brown. “Oh,” she says. Then, the next day, “Could you go to the store for me? I need green beans.” If you looked up anxious in the dictionary, I know my mother’s picture would be there, right by the definition.

I think of that fun kind of childish, anxious behavior we have when no one is looking, and we shake the gift boxes under the tree. Or when we expect someone special to arrive at a celebration. I love those feelings, but I have learned to tamp down my own excitement as an adult, and sometimes, I take away the passion and the fun from the event, simply by being old enough to know that “with expectation often comes disappointment.”

I suppose this is why adults get more excited for the children at Christmas. We see in their eyes what we once coveted. We marvel at their passion. We even take loads of videos and pictures because we know, eventually, that this excitement will wane, even for the youth.

Yesterday evening, I spent four hours rehearsing for a Christmas Eve musical celebration. This was the ensemble’s first time singing the songs with a five-piece band. Every song was a virtual disaster the initial time through. Nothing went according to expectation. All of the sound was different, because we used microphones and monitors to hear each other, now, rather than singing around a grand piano with just one instrument. However, about three hours into the rehearsal, the musicians began to hear each other and get excited about the music we made—together. For a while, individual egos were thinking about words, parts, and staging. But when the egos began to dissolve into the unity of the whole, beauty arose like a phoenix.

Singers who have been holding back or had been uncomfortable with a part, suddenly, took to the spotlight and shined. It was a wonderful sight. What began with clunking out notes to a cacophony of sounds for each part had now become an orchestra of harmony and unity.

Any holiday season mirrors what we hope all people would be like throughout the entire year. For just a few days, most people around the world share Hope, Joy, Love, Giving, and Togetherness. In so doing, I believe, we set the stage for a great metaphor for everyone to see in our daily lives. So, as we gather to celebrate together, let us all put aside our differences, our pettiness, and especially our egos, and experience what I felt last night watching individual egos become one powerful voice!

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