The world was baptized in beauty as I drove down the wintry Ontario highway on the last Saturday evening before Christmas.
The only remnants of a major winter storm of the day before were mounds of sparkling snow that glistened in the brilliant sunshine of the day, turning our world into the perfect picture postcard. But now the day was coming to a fast close, and, as it seemed to want to go out in a final blaze of glory. The sky in the west looked as though an artist had painted brush strokes of salmon pink across a wash of deep turquoise. To the east, the twilight had fallen and the sky was indigo blue. Ahead of me, to the south, in the deepening gray of evening, the city of Toronto sparkled as thought someone had strung the city in white Christmas lights.
I was on my way to pick up Night Owl for a deliberately disorganized Christmas concert. Some friends and I wanted to celebrate Christmas in music without any pressure or expectations. Some children would be playing the piano and violin, and Night Owl would play Matthew, her viola, as well as the piano.
And so it was that in the dark of the Ontario night, the lights were on in our country church as 17 of us paused in our busyness to celebrate Jesus; to read stories, to make music and sing.
Some of the children became part of the manger scene during the reading of a wonderful story written by Night Owl, entitled,Wake Up, Christmas Tree!
We listened to wonderful music played by children, including Hannah, Joshua and Olivia, who are three of Joyful's children, and their friend Jesse. Night Owl and Christy Medieros played the piano and viola and Susan sang a Christmas carol she wrote for one of her children many years ago.
I read a wonderful story by felixhominum, one of the finalists in the Religion/Philosophy category of the Canadian Blog Awards,So One Other Christmas Eve the Doorknob Fell Off
(You too, can enjoy the stories shared at our concert by clicking the links.)
The Fox children wanted to bless an orphanage in Africa through this concert, and donations were taken. They have given up some of their Christmas presents to bless children who have nothing in material terms. They heard of the orphanage because one of their neighbours spends 6 months of the year there teaching.
It was the merriest Christmas concert ever.
In the words of the wonderful carol, Good King Wenceslas:
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing