As I sat in the audience of an elementary school winter chorus concert on Wednesday evening, I found myself feeling intensely grateful for the gifts of the experience — lovely music, cute kids, diversity in the student body, concert length appropriate to its audience and participants. The choral selections were a satisfying mix of reverent, sweet, and highly amusing. I cried tender tears during A Song of Peace and tears of hilarity during The Reindeer Rap, in which the chorus was accompanied by a beatboxing PE teacher. (“Without us, Santa’s walkin’.”)
At the end of the 20-minute program, I breathed a sigh of relief as my body relaxed just a little bit, and I thought, “Well, that was a perfect antidote to cynicism.”
And I realized how much I need those antidotes right now. I’m quite vulnerable to the effects of cynicism as I’m confronted with the commercialism of the upcoming holiday(s), as I listen to the rhetoric of elected officials in the houses of Congress, as I ponder the seeming hopelessness of climate chaos and wonder if those in power will do anything to make a real difference.
So, the concert encouraged me to be more attentive and deliberate in noting the things that are hopeful, sweet, innocent, loving … those reminders of beauty and goodness in our world. Here are a few things I have noticed in recent weeks:
- The elementary school principal dressed ridiculously as Buddy the Elf welcoming students to school on Tuesday morning.
- The knowing laughter among loved ones sharing stories as they plan a wedding … and a memorial service.
- The delicate hand-made paper ornament that a friend gifted me, which is now bringing cheer to our home.
- Shared memories among longtime UUCC members and staff over lunch, two Thursdays in a row.
- A spontaneous invitation (accepted!) to share conversation with a friend who’s been distant.
- Mug cake. Baked independently by a 9-year-old.
- The anticipation of shared worship experiences over the next few days, which will be a variety of chaotic and touching and beautiful. (Beginning with Friday’s Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service, then Sunday’s pageant, then Tuesday’s Candlelight & Carols for Christmas Eve.)
What antidotes to cynicism are you appreciating during this season? May there be many, and may this be a time of deep warmth and meaning for you and your loved ones.