May you enter into the Christmas liturgies with some joy in the Incarnation. This was how my advisor in the Shalem Institute program signed his recent email in response to my request for extra time to write a paper. It stopped me dead in my tracks….joy was the absolute last thing I was experiencing.
Every December is difficult for a church musician. There are so many expectations, extra services, needy church members, sick or out-of town choristers, weather problems…the list goes on and on. Although I don’t understand why, this December was particularly hard for me. Musically things went very well, but I just ran out of steam. Joy at the coming of God to earth? Maybe next year.
And then, something happened…at the last of the Christmas Eve services, late at night, I unexpectedly saw the Incarnation in the soloist who sang off key. And then I saw it in the intrepid choir members, singing their hearts out way past their bedtime. During the sermon, as I was gazing at the beautiful poinsettias and candles, I took my husband’s hand and saw it in his patience and kindness to me. I looked further into the congregation, some weary, some merry, and yes, I saw the spirit of God in each and every one. The stress and non-stop schedule of the past few weeks began to melt away and I felt joy.
And the next day, Baby Zev arrived for a visit. As I wrapped my arms around him I saw clearly… Incarnation.
The embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form. Thank you, Winston, for urging me to find joy in this season.