Christmas Eve Rhapsody
I have a son who is not feeling well. I hope he sleeps through the night so alas, Christmas Eve Service is out for us this year. Advent and Christmas is the time of year I prepare my heart and my mind to let go, to have faith, and to welcome a new chapter. It is a time to acknowledge pain and loss, to find peace, and share joy. It is through the songs and stories of the season that I create this journey. Tonight, it will be the songs and candlelight I will miss the most. In that spirit, I lay my heart on the line and offer this humble rhapsody.
“Said the night wind to the little lamb Do you see what I see Way up in the sky little lamb Do you see what I see A star, a star Dancing in the night With a tail as big as a kite With a tail as big as a kite”
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. John 1:9 (NIV)
The light of a star. Never in this world will there anything brighter than the stars. The star’s symbolism alone gives incredible depth to our lives. Lights to guide us. The conflict between light and dark. The light of our spirit. Stars will guide us. A sign of the heavens to wish upon.
Side story: I once argued with a pastor who was hellbent and on fire when I used the word wish. I was to say “pray!” I stood and repeated, “Starlight, Star bright, first star I see tonight, pray I may and pray I might have this prayer I wish tonight.” Then I followed with, ‘God knows in my heart wishes are prayers and prayers are wishes’. To this day, I do not believe it matters not if I sing wish or pray. “Starlight, Star bright, first star I see tonight, wish I may and wish I might have this wish I wish tonight” for my heart is what God hears. Yes, I was one of those children. Not intentionally rude, but, perhaps a little precocious or as some said with that sneer of vocal disdain, spirited.
Back to the star!
A star with a tail. A comet! Or, perhaps a teacher with a room full of excited children. Or, perhaps an administrator with a room full of weary teachers and staff members. We have been given a light to follow. With that light is no small challenge, we must use it also light to lead. As teachers and leaders, we have the explicit duty to shine and invite, with kindness, those around us on a journey to learn, to laugh, to love, and to create our own comet.
“Said the little lamb to the Shepard boy Do you hear what I hear Ringing through the sky Shepard boy Do you hear what I hear A song, a song High above the trees With a voice as big as the sea With a voice as big as the sea”
A Song! A Song!
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3 (NIV)
We have been given great responsibility to hear, not just listen to the noise that surrounds us. Those words and experiences gather to compose our song. Through the excitement and the chaos, through the demands and the testing, do you hear the voice of the students that surround you? Do you hear the voice of the teachers and staff who surround you? Or, are you so tested with the noise that surrounds you that the very client whom we serve has been silenced? It is not with blame that I ask this but, with an olive branch. We are better together. In this season of song, listen to the ringing through the schools, a song that rises high above the rooftops. Put in focus not what, but who is most important, those in your care. If you are a leader, listen to your teachers and staff, especially those who are listening to your students and their families. What will happen if you are to sing the new song that has been put in your mouth? Sing it with trust.
“Said the Shepard boy to the mighty king Do you know what I know In your palace wall mighty king Do you know what I know A child, a child Shivers in the cold Let us bring him silver and gold Let us bring him silver and gold”
Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes, we just have to repeat a verse until we are heard. “A child, a child, shivers in the cold, Let us bring him silver and gold. Let us bring him silver and gold.” “A child, a child, shivers in the cold, Let us bring him silver and gold. Let us bring him silver and gold.” “A child, a child, shivers in the cold, Let us bring him silver and gold. Let us bring him silver and gold….”
“Said the king to the people everywhere Listen to what I say Pray for peace people everywhere Listen to what I say The child, the child Sleeping in the night He will bring us goodness and light He will bring us goodness and light He will bring us goodness and light”
“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light." John 12:36 (NIV)
I left the education field and refused to return. My son, when he was 6, gave me the teacher card out of one of those Valentine’s Day 24 card pack I bought him at the dollar store. I had already left education. I asked him why he gave it to me. He said, “Because you are a great teacher and that’s where you should be.” ‘A little child shall lead us…’
The journey back was not easy but has led to an amazing journey of music, technology, and doctoral studies. I had to believe the smallest of light was still someplace deep within myself. I believe in magic. I believe in preparing for a new birth for our journeys are ever changing. I believe in sharing stories and songs. I believe in listening to the songs of my fellow humans, especially the voice of the child that leads.
As I write this the snow is gently falling and the Christmas bells are ringing through town. The bells call us to acknowledge our pain, find peace, and to share the joy of a song. A song that gives us permission to lead with the light of a star, and a heart that listens and gives.
Thank you to my teacher and administrative cohorts, my fellow doctoral learners, my PLN, my family, friends, and my sons. You are my light and I will sing our song.
Merry Christmas with love,
Do you Hear What I Hear is one of my favorite songs
Thank you to Songwriters: Noel Regney / Gloria Shayne Do You Hear What I Hear lyrics © Regent Music Corporation