Today is what I call Christmas Sunday. Although the blessed Holiday is still many days away, today is the last Sunday before the celebration of the Savior's birth. I had been looking forward to this day because I heard it was going to be a 'musical' Sacrament Meeting. This is how a Christmas Sunday should be in my book. Lots of singing, piano, and a few instruments if we got really lucky. I was participating in the ward choir specifically because I love Musical Christmas Sundays. You see, I feel like I can't be bummed about a lack of music if I'm not willing to contribute myself.
Little did I know how strongly my conviction to that idea would be tested! On Wednesday I received a phone call. I was asked to play my flute in a duet with another woman in our ward. I agreed with my words, then hung up the phone. My heart was not as agreeable. I immediately felt kinda woozy. I decided long ago that I would always do my best to say 'Yes' when called upon to help in my church. I am smart enough to know that I had to make that determination before I am ever asked to do stuff, otherwise I would find lots of timely reasons to say 'No'. But I can honestly say that my least favorite thing to do in church is play my flute. Hands down.
I got the music. It was a super, super easy song. You would think this would put me at ease, but it did not. I had to keep reminding myself that I want to be someone who says yes. I also thought of how I'd wished for years we'd have that all-music Christmas Sunday that I was now a part of. And so of course I convinced myself enough that I actually showed up this morning for flute and choir practice before church.
So how did it go? Well, the opening harp number was a little piece of heaven. The choir pieces were surprisingly in tune and Spirit filled. The vocal soloists were inspiring. And my flute number? Well, I can say that it is over and it was fine. But man oh man, I remember in even more vivid detail why I dislike playing the flute for the ward. I cannot breathe! Then that makes me start to shake. Then I feel like I am going to pass out from working so hard to force out my notes!! The second verse isn't any better, and I don't settle in! But I play on wondering if my face is turning red. And then it's over. I sit down in the choir seats and have that shaky-yet-calmly-relieved feeling you get after doing something like that. So ya, it went fine. And I did not enjoy it.
But I do want to write about something I did enjoy. I really liked sitting on the choir seats during our Musical Christmas Sunday. I loved seeing the faces of our ward. I loved seeing the joy and peace they felt conveyed by the Spirit through music. That part of the meeting was delightful. The full time missionaries were the only two speakers and the second Elder gave a very good talk about the Gospel. It was a very simple and beautiful message. I looked at the audience and thought about the people there. I know about many of the challenges many of them are facing, though I am sure I know only a fraction. The thought also occurred to me that there were a few people in our congregation that had served time in jail and others that struggled with addictions. We aren't a polished, pioneer-stock-type ward that you visit in Utah. But we are a good ward. And really, the exact kind of ward that the Gospel is all about. We aren't a museum of Saints, but
a place where sinners are invited to come to Christ and be healed. And this Sunday I could see that. And more importantly, feel that.
I am thankful for the Musical Christmas Sunday when we get to sing praises to the Babe born in a manger over 2000 years ago. I am thankful for the Spirit that conveys the truth of that message to the hearts of the listeners. So I will continue to say yes, even when it's hard!
I also wanted to write about YW's today. I hoped to carry on the MCS, and invited the girls to either sing a song, play the piano, share a tradition, or a story. It went really well. We had several girls do music, a few that shared stories, and one that brought us all rice pudding (as per her family's tradition). I finished up with the Christmas Story as told in the scriptures. I certainly couldn't have planned and assigned a better program. I love it when things come together like that because I believe the Spirit plays the role of organizer on days like that. It was fun to be a part of and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing what the girls chose to share!
In all, the perfect Sunday to set the tone for the coming week!