Saturday, December 11, 2010

Life in My World -- Decked Be Our Halls


Thursday we put up the nativities, spread the garland on the mantel, fluffed the tree and spread the hand-quilted skirt carefully underneath it and said, “Decked be our halls.” It took all of ten minutes. I love it when people decorate beautifully and I am inspired by what they do. I appreciate being invited into those homes and businesses and feeling the festivity and beauty, but I’m also okay with our simple decorations. Clark taught me that . . .

I used to hope I could make a more ideal Christmas –

--a Christmas with a tall, fresh, good-smelling tree with beautiful and sentimental ornaments hanging from the no-needle dropping variety branches, not a $29.95 artificial tree (with a $30 rebate) from Home Depot with dried orange slices

--a Christmas where the cookies, breads, orange rolls, popcorn balls, caramel, turtles, peanut brittle, and toffee were made by December 21st and neatly stored in stackable rubber main containers ready to eat or give at a moment’s notice, not where a little is baked today, a little more tomorrow, some more next week and then we’ll be out of what was baked today so we’ll start over and never have it all done at the same time and definitely not stacked neatly in a container.

--a Christmas where big wreaths hang from doors, windows, and fence posts and snow falls gently, not a little snow today and a-lot-of-rain-melting-it-tomorrow type weather and no wreaths

--a Christmas where all the gifts are wrapped attractively with tags even and ready to give early, no last minute scrambles and dollar-store-easy-to-poke-a-hole-in paper.

I used to wish for more ideal Christmases, but then one day in class I played the song from Handel’s Messiah that quotes Isaiah, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” A young man with down-syndrome was quietly mouthing the words as the song began to play. Knowing he loves music, I paused the song and asked Clark if he’d like to stand and sing the song for our class. He beamed, stood, and hurried to the front of the room while I restarted the music. He faced the class and stood at attention, tapped his hand against his leg, and mouthed each word in perfect rhythm throughout that four minute song. His words were sometimes whispered, warbled, and unclear. Not the ideal performance. Or was it? As inspiring as Messiah is, I’d never before felt when hearing it what I felt while Clark sang it as a solo. Imperfect as his performance was, it was faultless. Reality had reached the ideal.


Clark’s impromptu performance taught me that Christmas can be ideal even with a $29.95 tree, our decorations less than breath taking, and our goods less than perfect. Because of the birth of One perfect man who walked this earth, reality will eventually reach the ideal in all matters of real importance. In the meantime, I love Christmas, imperfect as our celebrations may be because there’s a whole lot more perfect in practice than I supposed.

I’ve watched this video over and over. I would have joined them, probably even stood up on a chair to rally others.  I was given the enthusiasm to sing, but not the voice. No matter.  That’s what practice is for and someday my reality will reach the ideal, but in the meantime I'll have to just practice with perfect enthusiasm.


12 comments:

Alisa said...

I love this post. I love the video. I saw it last week and my reaction today watching it was the same. It just makes me so happy and filled with joy. I think that music is so filled with the Spirit.

I had posted on Facebook about how much I loved this video. Someone messaged me back saying that there was supposed to be something similar taking place here in Oklahoma City today. You can be sure I am going to do everything I possibly can to be there.

Cassidy said...

I love Christmas decorations, no matter how small and simple, or elegant and fancy. Christmas is just the best.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
And I know you, which means I know your house is perfect.

Ande Payne said...

I love our house decorated for Christmas and I love this post and the meaning. I love how you tied it all together. Thanks for writing today Mom.

Marie said...

You always know what to post. It is just a perfect way to reconnect with the meaning behind the celebrations.

Loved that video! I've watched it four or five times throughout the day!

And, by the way, I really enjoyed all the Well Fed posts of November. They were each wonderful.

Lilly Pyle said...

Clark has always been one of my greatest teachers. I can see this experience perfectly in my head. I love him and I love you! Thank you very much for this beautiful reminder.

Emma J said...

Oh wow. That's what it's all about it isn't it

Susan said...

The first time I watched this video, I kept trying to figure out if all the people were in on it, or whether they were just joining in. Then I realized that I was missing out on the big picture. So I started it over, and this time just listened to the music and singing. Much better the second time around!

Jill said...

Seeing Clark sing that would have done me in for sure, there wouldn't have been enough tissues for me!

I love that music and when I first saw this video a couple weeks ago I found myself sobbing.

Barb said...

That was awesome! Would that experience ever improve shopping in the mall for me.

michelle said...

I love the story and the photo of Clark. What an inspired thing to do, Jane! And I have a feeling that Christmas at your house is perfect.

Kathy said...

You can tell my head is some where in the clouds, I haven't been keeping up with blogging. You are so modest, weren't you just wanting to say, you might want to take a look at my post on Dec.11, I spot lighted Clark and posted a marvelous video of the "Hallelujah Chorus"? Well no of course you weren't, that would have be me. Thanks for sharing all of this; you home decor, Clark's singing, (we don' know what we have there, do we?), and the Hallelujah Chorus in the mall. I love looking at "life in your world". Sorry I missed what you are doing for Abe and his buddies. You three ganged up on me and I hardly had a chance to ask you "what is going on in your world"? Thank you for caring and sharing. I love you and your family, thanks for this blog and being an inspiration to all of us.

Rachel said...

I MISS your Christmas tree! I haven't seen it since you lived in Hollister, but I remember it well.It was always so simple and humble. I think you would enjoy our three foot tree that my roommates and I decked out this year.