Sunday, December 14, 2008

The TRUE Reason for the Season...

Today I saw something absolutely beautiful. This Sunday was the third weekend in advent, meaning it was time for my church's annual Christmas Contada. This is one Sunday where it's not about the messages, or even your own personal feelings. It's a time to rejoice in the breathtaking splendor of muscians, and chancel choirs. To bask in the glow of children singing and the expressions of a proud parent.

Today I got to see a young boy, who's name is Matthew, sing a beautiful solo during the performance. I couldn't tell you the words that he sung, or even the title of the song itself. I couldn't tell you how long it lasted, or even whether the little boy was nervous or not. But what I can say is that for one bright and shining moment all eyes in the church were on him. He carried the tune well! He hit his notes on cue, he was in sync with the conductor and if he was nervous, and I'm sure he was, it never showed. It was truly an awe inspiring moment to say the least, to see a young boy sing with all his heart and all his soul in front of hundreds of people. What was more inspiring was that I had the honor of sitting directly behind his parents as he sung.

I can never think of a more touching moment than to see a parent that is proud of something that their child is doing. You expect to see a mother cry at a moment like this, which I'm sure his mom's eyes were quite teary eyed. But, I was able to see his father. As his son finished the first part of his solo and the choir picked up from there, I looked at his dad. His dad began wiping the tears from his eyes, so proud of the moment his son had just had. That meant even more to me than knowing what the mother had done.

You see, a son longs for the approval of his father. It's almost a rite of passage in some respects. Young boys want to be like their dad. You would tend to worry about a young boy that wants to be just like their mother (in a literal sense, not figurative). But a father's love seems to go deeper. Now, there is no greater connection to a child than the one they have with their own mother. There is no question there. But when you see an outward expression of affection from a father for their child, which can sometimes be harder to come by, that's something to behold. Men are not known for showing their affections, their emotions. It's not manly to cry, nor is it professional. For a moment like this one though, even the most staunch and crass man's-man would turn into a blubbering, baboon of emotional seepage over the success and performance of their own child.

It kind of gives you the impression of what God must of thought of Jesus Christ. I know not all of you believe as I do, but when you read the scriptures and hear the expressions from the angels to Jesus that His Father was very proud of Him, that says a lot. You can only imagine the outrage, anger and hostility felt from Jesus' Father when he died.

I myself am not a father, yet. One day I would like to think God will bless my wife and I with a child. But, for now, I believe God simply wants me to be an observer. He wants me to see what being a true father is all about. As I watch Matthew's dad, I could not help but be touched by this display. The conductor gave the young boy the "ok" sign, just a simple reminder to this nervous young lad that he was doing splendidly. This made the boy's dad tear up more. It made me want to cry. I felt so happy for him, so proud of his son! I wanted to believe more readily in hope, faith and love! Besides, isn't that what we all hope for in the end?

I believe Chevy Chase, as Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, said it best. The following quote was in relation to one of the children seeing a bright shining light in the heavens, which Clark immediately pointed out as "The Christmas Star." He went on to say, "That's all that matters tonight. Not bonuses or gifts, turkeys or trees. You see kids, it means something different to everybody. Now I know what it means to me." Clark's uncle replies, "That ain't the fringin Christmas Star Gris, it's the light on the Sewage Treatment Plant." There's a naysayer in every bunch I'm afraid.

But not today! Today was glorious and enchanting. Matthew was a bright shining star in the darkness that can sometimes surround us all, even this time of year. He is a Christmas Star. That's something he should always be proud of, that his family should always be proud of. I thoroughly enjoyed the Contada and hope that if you did not get to attend the one at my church, that your's at your own was just as inspiring. Always remember what the season is truly about, regardless of your convictions. It's about faith, it's about hope and most importantly it's about love. A father's love, a parent's love is unimaginable. Show them some love today, no matter where you are, no matter where they are. I assure you, you'll never regret it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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