Happy Holidays!

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Feast of Lights 2016

The Feast of Lights is a service of lessons and carols held at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. A 60-plus-year tradition, there are elements of the service that folks have come to expect and cherish. It begins with a child singing the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s  City.” It ends with choir members carrying lighted candles into the congregation as we sing “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and “Silent Night.”

The tenors and sopranos sing a descant on”O Come, All Ye Faithful.” As a tenor, this is unnerving for me. It’s loud and it’s high, and I sing it relatively far away form others, but close to the congregants seated near me. It’s basically a solo. 

I decided to pull all the stops and sing that descant full throttle. I processed to the spot where I was supposed to stand, closed my eyes, and let ‘er rip. On the last phrase of the descant verse, I remembered to enunciate,  nailing the “CH” consonant in “CHrist the Lord.” I opened my eyes and saw that I’d blown out my candle.  

I got tickled. A few folks around me started suppressing laughter. I had to make a walk of shame to a nearby choir member to relight my candle. I recovered, and I successfully transitioned into the much more manageable “Silent Night.”

We sing the last verse of” Silent Night” accapella. As we sang, I saw that the members of the orchestra were singing, too. This was significant to me because, while the choir is all volunteer, the orchestra is composed of paid local musicians and members of the the Nashville Symphony. They hsd finished their gig. But their singing said they had transitioned from employees to participants. 

Mom and I have a tradition of sharing our Feast of Lights Christmas moments, that moment when the transcendent message of grace that is Christmas becomes incarnate. It happened for me when the orchestra began to sing. 
Merry Christmas. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all

First, you have to clean the house…

Then, you have to decorate. I decided to go practical this year…

More decorating…

You can even decorate with the food. In this case, the pies. Chocolate, sweet potato, pineapple

Set the table. This was new for us this year. Usually, we wind up sitting anywhere we can. But this year we cobbled together a common table that sat fourteen…

table

Downton Abbey style, ’cause we’re classy like that…

Cook the turkey. And whatever else didn’t get assigned from The Thanksgiving Menu

Prep the turkey pumpkin centerpiece

Pray the Thanksgiving prayer

Eat all that delicious food (including Mike’s jalapeño poppers)…

Instantly fall asleep…

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Give thanks for years of giving thanks