The rush of holidays at the end of the year always feels like a whirlwind for me. The way Thanksgiving and Christmas meld together in the celebration machine sometimes leaves me no time for transition. I often feel like I need a way to cap off Thanksgiving. With this year’s kicking-and-screaming approach to the 12 Days series focused on giving thanks, it was nice to reacquaint myself with gratitude for those few weeks and to take time to savor some down time with my wonderful gifts before delving into Christmas fun. It encouraged me to look again at cultivating the discipline of thanksgiving week in and week out.
That’s really how the whole Oh Happy Day thing started. I envisioned it as a way of looking at the blessings of each week and acknowledging them on Friday in the tradition of “TGIF.” Only morphed into just “thank God.” It’s a worthy endeavor and I want to revisit it more regularly in the coming months. With that, Oh Happy Day!
Last night we had a time-honored rite of Christmas celebration everywhere. The Christmas Program. Yes, Baby Girl and Bug presented their annual daycare Christmas program slash musical — where musical is not really a musical, but more like an alternating display of stage frightened toddlers and over-exuberant preschoolers. It’s the exuberant part that caught my attention. Oddly enough, this week I’m thankful for The Christmas Program.
Now, I fully realize that the most obvious gratitude-inducers with The Christmas Program would be “Thank God it’s over,” or “Thank God it didn’t last too long,” or “Thank God noone threw up on the stage.” But, as I made my way through the week of fielding questions from Bug about the event, listening to brief and very cute impromptu promos, and hearing “are you going to come and see my Christmas Program?” from him approximately 137 times, his shear exuberance started to take root. I was really looking forward to seeing the result of his hard work and excitement.
Bug had warned me several days ago that he was planning to “sing loud.” Bug does very many things loudly, and having just experienced the Thankgiving luncheon program at the daycare, I knew he was dead serious in his plan. Sure enough, The Christmas Program was NOT a silent night kind of event when his class came to the stage.
Bug was one of the sheep on the hillside. From the moment my little showman took the stage, I could see by the barely contained grin on his face that he was primed for high volume vocals. He looked through the crowd and spotted me with a big smile and his stage presence took over from there. The all-too-brief nap the sheep took prior to the angelic visit was punctuated by Bug’s own stage direction encouraging the rest of his herd to stand up for the next song. His little body was fairly itching to start the hand-motions encouraging us to witness the birth of the Christ child slash baby doll. His face shown with anticipation as his teacher paused in the story narration to queue the songs. Never have I heard a more resounding series of NOELs in response to the angel’s message of good news. It was downright earth-shattering. It’s hard to believe everyone in the Bethlehem Hilton didn’t hear it and rush out to the stable for a bleary-eyed look. The emphatic “Merry Christmas” and wave goodbye at the end showed me that Bug was entirely pleased at his performance and he beamed when I told him I completely agreed.
Thank God for exuberance. It’s so contagious. I’m very grateful for the ability of my four-year-old to maintain exuberance in the silliest of circumstances. And in the most serious of endeavors. Exuberance is engaging. Exuberance is blind to self-consciousness and indecision. It elevates the ordinary into something extraordinary. Exuberance brings pride to something achieved. It acknowledges that a thing is important. Exuberance motivates laughter and tears. It makes me look anew at simple tales and simple truths. Exuberance makes me grateful for having reasons to rejoice.
Oh Happy Day!