Last night was the first of two presentations of this year's Frazer musical, The Bell and the Rose. We presented the same program last year, and it went so well that we are doing it again. (I personally think it's such an awesome story that we could make it a tradition. My two cents.) Instead of presenting a nativity scene punctuated by music, it tells a very moving story of how a child and her family found the meaning of Christmas in the midst of great sorrow.
I have rehearsed this musical many times now. We performed it twice last year. We had full run-throughs Wednesday and Friday. I think I know it well enough to sing it in my sleep. And so I was blindsided by what happened last night.
It was about 3/4 of the way through the program, and we were singing Star of Bethlehem. Out of nowhere, I realized that my eyes were welling up. There was surge of emotion that I did not expect, especially because I was already so familiar with the music, the script, and the wonderful good news behind the story. Where did THAT come from?
As the program proceeded and I sang with even more passion that usual (I do get into it), I began to realize where it did come from. The message of the gospel was digging into my heart as well as my mind. You see, I suddenly was identifying with the characters in our story. Like the child character Caroline, I have seen sadness in the midst of the season's joy. There was the first Christmas after my sister's death. There was the Christmas five years ago when my mother was very ill and we had to have family Christmas Eve at the hospital. Then, on December 13, 2006, she went to be with the Lord. That's four years tomorrow. Finally, I felt my mind drifting to a close friend who is dealing with some very heavy burdens this Christmas season.
So, like Caroline, I have been there. Questioning God. Angry. Sad. Holding it in because I'm supposed to be strong. And I see friends in exactly the same place.
And it moved me. Suddenly, the good news was not something I knew, it was something I felt. Yes, the Christmas story is much more than angels, shepherds, magi, and a baby in a manger. It is a child who grew up to die for me, and so he does understand all my pain. And he came to give me hope and a future.
What an awesome story! And what an amazing thing to celebrate!
Yes, Christmas is a tough time for alot of people - I know, I've been there. I didn't know, but it must have bubbling below the surface for me last night. I am thankful that God doesn't leave us in the sadness, but with a Savior who grew up to give us a life full of meaning and hope.
Thank you, Father!