Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spiritual Wisdom from Alathea

Last night was the Alathea concert at my church. What a delight to go to a Christmas concert! For the most part, I love being part of the boldly multicultural society that we have down here in South Florida, but many of us tiptoe around the winter holiday issue, here in a place with so many non-Christians.

The Alathea Christmas concert was unabashedly about Christmas, not about the other winter holidays. It was unabashedly, unashamedly Christian. When I was younger, that aspect might have annoyed me. I remember having heated arguments with my younger sister about the artistic merits of Amy Grant, for example. My sister loved her, and I loathed her. I much preferred U2, which I claimed had musical talent, as well as more sophisticated lyrics. Amy Grant was so much more obvious, so earnest. Back in the early 80's, Bono didn't seem as earnest and obvious as he does to me now--but now, earnest and obvious are not the dirty words to me that they were to my younger self.

At the Alathea concert, we heard the humorous story of their small church in the Tennessee mountains, which had all of 4 children the year the children decided that they wanted to put on a Christmas pageant that told the Christmas story. The children played revolving parts, and the youngest was the baby Jesus in the manger, who proceeded to throw his toys out of the manger.

But more moving was the story of the songwriter who felt alone at Christmas, as she hadn't had a significant other in years. But then, as she was devouring a half gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream, she decided to reread the Christmas story. She realized that if God came to be with us, we will never be alone.

Of course, they sang beautiful Christmas music, both their own and traditional favorites, woven in with the stories and theology. For me, a person who has been racing around so fast that I've rarely had time to sit and listen to my favorite Christmas CDs, it was a welcome respite.

Perhaps it was even more so because I spent the day at the Pembroke Pines Snowfest before going to the concert. We handed out info that had Christmas Eve information, and we ran a Christmas Karaoke booth--very popular with the children.

After a day of hearing rendition after rendition of "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," I was ready to get back to the spiritual roots of Christmas. And Alathea was just the pathway.

You, too, could get a taste of their Christmas vision. Go here to order their Christmas CD. Even if it arrives after Christmas Day, you can celebrate the season until Epiphany. Maybe you're like me--we should celebrate Christmas year round, if we really believe this Good News that we preach this time of year. But even if you're strict with yourselves and you outlaw Christmas music in your house between Dec. 26 and Thanksgiving, order it now, so you'll have it for next year.

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