Tell Me Christmas Are We Wise

 

Merry Christmas! Yes I know it’s the day after Christmas. It’s time to firm up our plans for New Year’s Eve and start putting away the Christmas decorations. Christmas 2019 was great but Father Time keeps moving on and so must we. In just a few nights we’ll be welcoming in the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Can you believe it? It seems like just last year we were all partying like it was 1999. Time does indeed move on. And quickly.

So what did you do this day after Christmas? Did you do some gift returning or exchanging? Did you stock up on sale items for Christmas 2020? Did you spend one more day with family before heading out tomorrow? Did you binge-watch the final day of Christmas movies on Hallmark, Ion, Lifetime, and Netflix? Or did you spend this day sitting at home, doing pretty much what you do every day, spending it alone?

This afternoon a friend and I went to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO) performance of Christmas Eve and Other Stories. Let me tell you the rock and roll road show still exists and man was it fantastic! Awesome guitar licks. Glass shattering vocals. Music that really did rock my socks off. And a light and pyrotechnics show that was better than anything I saw in the 70s. The TSO musicians are true rockers and they made this 60-year-old guy feel like he was 20 again this afternoon. Yes, we went to the matinee performance – I am 60 you know.

You can google the history of TSO to see how Paul O’Neill and his collaborators brought great rock musicians together in the late 1990s to create an entertainment explosion of song and stage. I get goosebumps whenever I hear their music and think about how they took classical music compositions we pretty much all know and rocked them out to reach into another genre. If you haven’t heard them before you should give them a listen. And if you have never seen them on stage, you really need to. Get ready to see the longest hair you’ve seen since Cher in the 60s. And that’s just the guys in the group!

Christmas Eve and Other Stories is the weaving of basically three stories. The original Christmas story of our Savior coming to the earth. The story of God sending an angel today to see if the spirit of Christmas still exists in the hearts of humankind. And the story of a run-away young girl trying to get home to her father who longs for her return. The music that brings all these stories together is beautiful. Each song tells a story within itself and when the songs are put together it’s very moving

There’s one song that always moves me. It’s called Old City Bar. That’s right, in the midst of a Christmas performance there is a song about a bar. Remember this is rock music.

This song tells the story of the run-away girl trying to find a way to get back home on Christmas Eve. It’s sad and inspiring at the same time. It’s a song about how we’re all connected, especially on Christmas Eve, and how we all share the same hope for love and belonging. I’ll include a link to the song at the end of this post. Maybe it will talk to you and maybe it won’t. Maybe this style of music isn’t for you. But the central message of Old City Bar, as well as the entire Christmas Eve and Other Stories performance, is a message for all of us to think about not just on Christmas Eve but every day of the year.

That message is pretty much summarized by this one verse:
If you want to arrange it
This world, you can change it
If we could somehow
Make this Christmas thing last
By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger
To know who needs help,
You need only just ask.

Change the world. We all have ideas on how to change the world to make it better. But better for whom? For a neighbor? For a stranger? For ourselves? The story of Christmas is perhaps the greatest story about change that has ever been told. You can choose to believe it or not. That’s your right and privilege. But I suggest to you that no greater change for a better future has ever been given to humankind than that which occurred on that first Christmas. If we want to make this Christmas thing last, this spirit of Christmas, of peace and goodwill towards men, then perhaps it is as simple as just asking if someone needs help. Even if that someone is ourselves.

The other song that always moves me is called This Christmas Day. It’s the song the father sings once he learns his daughter is on her way home after receiving the help of the bartender of the Old City Bar. If you’ve ever had a child or other loved one that’s been struggling away from home, you will relate to the father’s words.

Here is the first verse:
“So tell me Christmas are we wise
To believe in things we never see
Are Prayers just wishes in disguise
And are these wishes being granted me
For now I see the answering
To every prayer I’ve prayed
She’s coming home this Christmas Day”

Just as this father saw his wish, his prayer, being granted, I think we too will see the answering to our prayers for those we love. To believe in things we never see. I believe we are wise to place our hope in Christmas and to live out that hope every day of our lives. Think of the joy that would give our Father and the peace we will experience.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year friends! I hope you give a look and listen to the Old City Bar link below. Check out the entire Christmas Eve and Other Stories if you can. It will rock your socks off and more than likely bring you the peace of Christmas in a light show pyro-technic sort of way.

I’ll see you down the road in 2020….

The Seasons Change

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Always has been and always will be. It seems to connect with my soul in a way that the others simply do not. Are you like that? Which season connects best with you? Why do you think that is?

Each brings its own uniqueness and beauty to our world. Winter’s beautiful snow falls and long restful nights. Spring’s reemergence of life and the lengthening of daylight. Summer’s thrill of thunderstorms and the longer hours of warm sunshine. And Autumn’s transition of beautiful colors and the glow of bonfires at the end of the shortening days. Each in its own way is special. Each brings its own joys and challenges. Each shows us that our world is at constant change.

And so are our lives. Over my nearly 60 years or 240 seasonal transitions, I’ve experienced many changes. Moving from one season of my life to the next. Many seasons were fantastic times in my life while others were horrible. Most memories I cherish while others I dread recalling. And a few I wish to never experience again.

But I can honestly say each season of my life brought to me something special. Something to learn from. Something to share with others and something to experience just by myself. Something that has become a part of me and has helped shaped me into the person I am today.

I’ve experienced the long nights of darkness and cold with the passing of those I’ve loved. I’ve enjoyed the birth of new life through my children and grandchildren. I’ve thrilled in the times of family vacations and road trips with friends. And I have found great joy that I can now look back to and see that what I experienced, as easy or difficult it may have been, was just part of the transitions that must occur in life.

The world and our lives were not made to stay the same. Everything around us and in us is constantly changing. Growing, dying, and coming back to new life. Just as we see nature shine and dim through the seasons, we too experience the same shining and dimming in our lives. The world goes on and so do we.

There may be seasons where we feel it’s our last and eventually that season will come for each of us but until then I say let’s roll with the changes. Let’s make the most of each season. Experience it. Take it in. Let it change you. Let it become a part of you that is special and unique.

At the end of November, I will turn 60. Just another number and actually I’m way more excited than apprehensive about this change. Just like yours, my life has not always been easy but transitioning into my seventh decade, I’ve accepted the fact that I cannot control much if anything in this world. So I choose to accept what comes and live both in the current season and look forward to the next.

As Autumn comes to me, I’ll be admiring the beautiful colors of my surroundings in both nature and in the people I’ll meet. And I’ll be enjoying the warmth and light of the bonfires where ever I find them over these days ahead. And probably some roasted marshmallows as well.

Live well during your season my friends and see you down the road….