I've been a little slow about getting into the Christmas spirit this year. We finally got the tree decorated Monday night, and I got the last of the shopping finished up Wednesday, but decorating and shopping aren't the keys to Christmas for me. Actually, I find that I have to try to feel Christmas in spite of the decorating and the shopping.
Remembering the Savior isn't something we should cram all our energy into between Thanksgiving and the New Year; it's kind of like being saintly on Sunday and Wednesday, but ignoring our spirits the rest of the week. (I think that's part of the reason I struggle with church attendance, like it's my way of proving I can be spirtual on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.) Still, I fall into the trap every year. While decorating and shopping give me more things to lag behind on, I feel guilty for playing into the superficiality of the holiday if I actually keep up. I usually have a melt down at some point because I hate the inauthenticity I feel within myself, and this year was no different.
Then, I reconnected with my favorite Christmas music, and my tattered spirit was soothed. I'm not talking about "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World." I'm talking about Forgotten Carols, the powerful story of John, a mysteriously old man who claims to have been around for over 1900 years, sharing songs from obscure characters in the Christmas story. There's the song by the innkeeper, begging us all to "Let Him In" or the shepherd who heard about the Christ child from his friends that trekked to Bethlehem and still believes even though he didn't actually witness the event himself. One of my favorites (because really, they're all my favorite) is "Handel's Dream," which depicts the composer in his pre-Earth life as a tiny angel auditioning to sing in the heavenly choir announcing the birth of Jesus.
The story and songs by Michael McLean were turned into a musical that has been touring out West every Christmas for fifteen years now. When they released a DVD this year, I knew I had to have it. If I could afford it, I would buy thousands of copies of the CD, book, and DVD and give them away like candy. Instead, here is a little slide show I found on YouTube set to the song "I Cannot Find My Way/Three Kings." Enjoy.