It was a cold and sunny Saturday afternoon as a crowd gathered in the parking lot in front of Shop Rite. The focus of this group was a large square contraption with large bells and wires with a bench and pedals and levers. Perched on the bench behind the bells sat a man dressed completely in black save for a gold bird-like mask. As up tempo music poured out of speakers, the man began to stamp and pound on the pedals and levers, working the bells. Theatrically he engaged the audience while making music best described as haunting and medieval. The instrument he worked was a bronze carillon, usually only heard from a church tower.
As I stood there with my family watching and listening it occurred to me that there is no better way to temporarily lose oneself than to be at a performance in which the performer is enjoying what they are doing so much that they draw in the audience. This Christmas season I have been lucky enough to be seeing performers who get such joy from what they are doing that it beams into the audience, drawing in all those who are there. We went to an Advent afternoon of music at our church in the beginning of December. It just seemed to me that all those who performed were enjoying themselves and sharing that joy with all who were present. The final act was a group of adults who, because they enjoy making music, formed a “garage praise band”. The whole church rocked as they donned sombreros and treated us to their rendition of “Feliz Navidad”. If the Christmas season is about finding joy, then I have found it time after time in the past few weeks. What a wonderful gift performers give the rest of us when they are fully enjoying what they are doing and invite us to enjoy it with them.
My wish for all of you, my faithful readers, is that you find joy and pass it along in whatever way you are talented. Whether your talent is music, cooking, hugging, or just listening I urge you to share the gift that God has given you. In doing so, may you find the joy of Christmas in your heart. Merry Christmas!