Towards the end of Leroy Anderson's, "A Christmas Festival," (which you can listen to by clicking on the link) the lower brass of the orchestra begin the tune, "O Come All Ye Faithful," which is then "stolen" by the trumpet section. I say this because when we performed this piece in my high school band, I was a member of the lower brass section and resented that the trumpet section got to take over the melody that we had started rather majestically. When you listen to the piece in the link, you will hear it happen at 7:19 into the piece.
The photos above are "before and after" pictures of a pine tree that sprouted in my yard this summer. When I first noticed it, I immediately made plans for it at Christmas time (with apologies to Charles Schulz) and the photos above are those plans come to fruition. Until Christmas Eve, the tree appeared as you see it on the left. Yesterday afternoon, I added more decorations and the string of lights that now adorn it as you see in the picture on the right. And yes, my neighbors are not offended by my tackiness. Some of them even admitted their delight and approval.
I recently heard a Christmas sermon that spoke of the birth of the Christ child, but the sermon focused entirely on the fact that the birth of Jesus was necessary for the salvation of humanity. The message of the sermon was that until humanity accepts that, they are nothing.
I heard another Christmas message last night that also acknowledged the birth of Christ. That message gave humanity credit for knowing that because of the birth that was being celebrated, humanity knew how to pay the gift forward by being reminded of the enormity of the gift.
As the pictures of the tree above show, we can choose to remain burdened by the weight of inaccurate messages and thought. Or, knowing that there is strength in wherever our inherent goodness resides, we will allow ourselves to shine the light of goodness into the world without judgement or condemnation of those whose lights shine with less intensity, or do not shine at all.
Title from John Mason Neale's lyrics to the tune of "In Dulci Jubilo."