Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Defense of the Holiday Program

Today was my son's "holiday" program at school.  It was great.  And I mean that sincerely, because the kids sang well and their music teacher had obviously put a lot of work into the program.  There were several songs from other countries and religious backgrounds. As a French speaker, I was delighted to hear my little man, in all his 1st grade glory belt out, "Bon Jour Mes Amis!!!"  There was even a tribute to our feathered friends from the South called "The Penguin Dance".

However, there was a lot of grumbling among parents, and has been for some time now regarding these "holiday" programs the schools put on.  I hear, "Where were the Christmas songs?!  There were too many foreign songs!!  Let's remember the reason for the season!" I am, by no means, disregarding the most important figure in the Christmas season, and no, I am not talking about Santa.  He, who was born in a stable, is the reason for the season. And just as I believe that the first Christmas night led to the bright and glorious Easter morning, I acknowledge and even honor the fact that not everyone believes as I do.  But I think we can do without the hysterics of parents who want to hear "Silent Night" during the school program and complain, loudly and with anger, that 'this song' or 'that song' should have been sung.

Now, this post is not about politics or school reform, or bad teachers.  This post, like every post at Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl, is about celebrating the everyday.  Even if that means celebrating something that most people find convenient and necessary to complain about.  And here is why I celebrate the Holiday Program: Today, as I listened to all these songs performed so wonderfully by bright and beautiful kids, it made me remember that we are not all from the City of 3000.  We are not all American.  We are not all the same religion.  We are not all the same.  

I often tell my kids that God delights in great variety, and it is a great blessing to be different from others but we can always find common ground if we look for it.  I want my children to realize, understand and celebrate humanity in its vast and glorious variety.  And even with all of our wonderful differences, we are all members of a great family.  It's called The Human Race.  The woman tending her children in Bangladesh is my sister.  The man cultivating the earth in the fields of Peru is my brother.  Even the jerk driving the car behind me, and who shamelessly tailgates me, deserves my consideration and even my compassion because we are all connected.

When I remember this one thing: that we--all of us--are unique, rare, significant and beautiful in the Great Creator's eyes, then I am able to see and feel the worth of every person I meet, no matter our differences.  I am kinder to the stranger.  I am more patient with my family.  I am more giving to all, and no amount of singing Christmas carols is going to help me remember the "reason for the season" unless I remember that the greatest adoration is the emulation of the life of the One of whom we celebrate this season.  And quite frankly, I'm not sure He really cares that we heard "The Little Drummer Boy" if our treatment of others merits us a lump of coal in our Christmas stocking.

And that is what my son's holiday program taught me today.  Even though I didn't hear "Silent Night" or "The First Noel", it didn't matter.  Those may be the songs that I sing when I celebrate this time of year, but there were songs shared today that other members of my community sing to celebrate the season.  No matter the words, I heard Joy to the World.  And there is joy in the world.  There is joy to be found in being different from each other if we view our differences with love.

And that is something to celebrate.

What are your feelings on holiday programs?

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  1. Ditto.

    We are 2 peas in a pod.

    I feel the same as you about everyone not being the same. Ironic?

  2. For those who you heard wondering: The Christmas songs could have been heard at the the School Board meeting, where wonderful renditions of The First Noel, Joy to the World, and many other non-secular Christmas Songs were played by one of the local school's band members.

    The audience to that meeting was made up, as far as I could tell, solely of parents of the kids performing.

    So the answer to those voices you heard - Those songs are in the pockets of all those parents who don't show up to give support to society's (and our school district's) decision makers, who then are left to cower in indecision and fear of lawsuits and perceived political correctness.

    I'm not pointing fingers, I was only there to listen to the band. To me, the song choice doesn't really matter, it's not a big enough issue to me right now to be a blip.

    But there have been things that did show up on the radar, and becuase we took action I feel that I at least have the right to comment - on that issue.

    Personally, I don't believe that "activism" is the answer to much - especially the "Winter Break" question. But the next time you overhear "Where are the Christmas Songs?" just turn around and tell them they're in their pocket. See what kind of reaction you get.