A Christmas Moment

It’s midnight in your hometown. Tonight, I went to the “gong show.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve participated in this amazing event, but I have never missed a single one. We call it the “gong show” out of a twisted, but absolute, respect for what Eddie Yadon has created in his church.

Every year about a week or two before Christmas, I get a call from Eddie telling me when the (as in, ONE) rehearsal for the men’s chorus will be. And every year, from ten to twelve of us show up to run through the two or three pieces he has picked out…..that twenty to thirty will show up to perform. It always has the potential of being the most glorious baby-Jesus train wreck of all time. But, by the grace of God, it always rocks the house.

Eddie is the music director at the Latter-day Saints Church on East Hancock Street. Every year around this time, anybody, member or not, who wants to get up and sing a song, or play the piano, or ring their bells, or blow their horn, is embraced by the most congenial and supportive audience ever gathered. Kids and adults from one to eighty-three participate. Where, in this boring, worn-out, over-hyped, herd-bound world, could you go hear (all in the same night!) a tuba quartet, an ensemble of fourteen teenage flutists, the Hallelujah Chorus played at a canter by a 15-piece all-brass-band of students, amateurs and professionals, a full 22-piece bell choir Christmas medley performed by just two, very quick, women? A five-year-old, dressed like a little Christmas princess, standing on a box so we can see her while she sings her heart out about God’s little boy – no problem. Bagpipes – we got `em. And, while an extraordinary young man in his late teens accompanies himself as he sings his own unique arrangement of White Christmas, you remember that you were present at his first performance, years past, when he had to stand on the box.

Now all this began as, and still is, a family affair. The house is packed. Babies are crying. Toddlers are toddling in and out of the aisles. And teenagers, with cell phone in hand, suddenly bolt from their pew in response to a text message as if it were a late breaking news bulletin about the rumored results of Brittany Spears’ latest pregnancy test. Even so, Eddie Yadon’s divine Christmas elixir has become the Purple Passion of intoxicating musical concoctions.

Near the end of the program, after about a third of the audience had taken their pint-sized performers along with their sugar-charged younger siblings to the house, an attractive, petite, middle-aged woman, wearing a tailored red blazer and skirt, began working her way upstream through the exiting children’s choir toward the piano at the front of the church. As she unfolded her music across a special 4-foot panel she had placed on the music stand, Kenneth Yadon, Eddie’s younger brother, sat down at the piano. She stooped down out of sight for a few seconds and returned with what appeared to be an exquisite “1666" Amanti violin. I heard a little voice in my head say, “Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has informed us to prepare for take-off. Please fasten your seatbelts.” For the next fifteen minutes, amidst all the sippy-cup chaos and teen-touretts, this human-being, I think, single-handedly lifted the corner of that church sanctuary far above the maddening crowd and into the “secret place” of true peace on earth and genuine goodwill towards all; the likes of which I have not experienced since the days when I had to stand on a box.

“It came upon a midnight clear…” It is midnight here in my hometown and the skies are crystal clear. May each of you recognize the Merry Christmas that is always playing an ancient melody of hope and joy in the corner of your sanctuary. And, may the peace of God, that passes all understanding, gently pick you up, dry your tears, and set you back up on the box.

A Christmas Moment

slaight

Joined January 2008

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