December 24, 2005 § 2 Comments
Date decorating began: November 23rd
Christmas songs on my iPod: 179
Christmas movies I own: 12
First, “I can’t wait for Christmas”: March 5th
Christmas songs composed about my dog: 1 (set to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)
Current level of “edge”: -3
I revel I Christmas. I don’t know what it is exactly…maybe everything. I love what it means and I love how it is celebrated. My love of Christmas has been instilled in me since I was little; my parents have always loved Christmas. I have fond memories of hunting for the Christmas tree on a farm in Michigan in the most beautiful snow I’ve ever seen. (My father would call it a “Hollywood snow”.) Memories of passing out the gifts, piling them higher, next to a crackling fire. Memories of sweets and coffee in the mornings and the embraces and kisses of family before carting off to bed. Perhaps everyone holds these same idyllic memories, a page taken from a Rockwell existence. Still, they are special to me. I will hold on to them and recreate them for my children. I want them to experience the same warmth, anticipation, and contentment the holidays have always brought me.
I’ve always loved Christmas. For several years, up until the age of probably ten or so, I would inevitably wake up in the wee hours of Christmas morning, groggily find my way to my parents room, wake my mother, and sit with her in the bathroom until daylight. Why you ask? Such was my anticipation for the morning that I’d work myself into a frenzy, my stomach churning, my mind racing, until I’d made myself sick. So I spent many a Christmas eve and into Christmas morning curled up on the cold tile floor of the bathroom, my head in my mother’s lap as she stroked my hair and shook her head in bemusement at how I’d come to be the little person I was. Today she laughs about these nights spent together; I doubt they were very funny at the time.
Nonetheless, morning would come, my mysterious illness would melt under the sun, and my day would be filled with smiles and laughter. As we age, we lose touch with childhood. I remember things now over which I used to mull for hours in fascination. How does the caterpillar become the butterfly? How does the moon stay where it should? And lesser things, smaller things, things I’ve forgotten about completely. I don’t wonder about these things anymore. My wonder has melted away like my illness. But Christmas remains intact, or as much as it possibly can. I keep it safe. I keep it close to my heart and guard it carefully. And then, once a year I reach into my little hiding place and pull out the heart a little boy, I place it in my chest, and I am filled with gladness and joy and…wonder!
December 9, 2005 § 4 Comments
My posts have not been the most frequent of late. I don’t flatter myself, thinking that you’ve been checking on a daily basis, praying as the page loads, hoping today will produce a new post… but, nonetheless, I have been a little light on the news.
We’ve been doing this “little thing” at church called “Night of Light.” It is the Christmas production at Skyline Church and it is actually nine nights of light. We’ve spent a great deal of time and resources getting ready for this behemoth of a show, and it is now upon us.
When I arrived for my first day at work on June 1st of this year, my very first meeting was regarding Night of Light. The show had already been in the minds of the folks here for several years, but it had been decided that this was the year to pull it off. Let me explain what I’m talking about.
The whole show is outdoors (because we can do that sort of thing here), and it begins with a holiday festival of sorts. At 6:00 each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the doors open to a festive area complete with thousands of lights, a children’s choir, a giant movie screen playing old Christmas favorites, and a forty foot Christmas tree. As you turn to your right, there’s Santa greeting the children. As you continue through the festivities you’ll find food galore, a huge holiday craft faire, an Elvis impersonator singing Christmas tunes, aerial acrobats, and a 150 ft. sledding hill. (Yes, we brought in real snow.)
After about an hour of holiday festivities, you’ll walk up a grand staircase to our upper field. You’ll see grandstands set up facing a sheer rock wall, at the base of which rests a recreated Bethlehem village. As the show begins you’ll see our choir nestled into a ledge on the hillside, and you’ll meet the innkeeper who will guide you through the night’s events. He’ll tell you the story of the very first Christmas and invite you to witness the arrival of the angels, the shepherds, the magi kings, and of course, the child. And as all this happens, the rock wall will glimmer with the glow of 3,600 lights, which illuminate to create various words and images across the mountainside.
I’ve been in charge of the drama and have been helping with various aspects of this huge undertaking. The rewards have been plentiful. People who are wary of the church are finding their way here. People are meeting Christ, and turning to Him. Response has been incredible.
I sit here, tonight, overwhelmed by what God is doing through this show. He is using our feeble attempts to His glory. And I am staggered.