‘Tis the season! For shopping, wrapping, cooking, and eating. It is also the season for children’s Christmas concerts. During what can easily turn into a hectic time of year, these concerts, while cute, can sometimes seem like nothing more than a quick photo-op and an event simply to be checked off of a very long to-do list.
While attending the annual St. Leonard Christmas Concert this year, we were treated to the sight of young children dressed in their holiday attire and the familiar sounds of the season. Friends and family listened proudly as students played solo instrumentals and applauded the group performance of the bands. The audience was entertained with festive choral numbers such as, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” We were serenaded with touching renditions of “White Christmas” and “Away in a Manger.” It was a lovely concert that made us feel merry and bright.
What made this event more than “just another Christmas concert,” however, was the finale. Every St. Leonard student in grades K4-8, came together in the front of the church, and in one voice, began to sing of an important Christmas message – one of hope, love and peace. The song choice was interesting, as it was not a typical Christmas tune. And yet, it was the perfect melody for the message conveyed. A group of over 200 children stood in front of us and sang Michael Jackson’s, “Heal the World.” It was as if these youngsters, knowing that one day they would be all grown-up, faced with the responsibilities of family, community, finances, politics and foreign relations, were singing to the adults.
They were asking us to please, “make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race.” Through song they were reminding us that there are those in our world, our nation and our own neighborhoods who are suffering, and if we cared enough, we could make life better – for someone. Through the gift of charity, time, or service, we could share with others the true spirit of Christmas. We could give a gift that was truly from the heart. It was a powerful message that urged us to forget about all of the hustle and bustle and to refocus on what Christmas is really all about. ‘Tis the season.
Photo courtesy of: Kathy Kohl
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