Monday, December 17, 2007

Small Town Christmas

We live in a small town. Well, relatively speaking. Almost 70,000 in population would be considered a big town but for us it seems small. We live in an older neighborhood that backs up to a city walking path and old downtown. We walk to the library and to the local store. But, we also have the convenience of the big box stores at the other end of town.
We love going downtown. We visit for the Fourth of July parade and Christmas is even more special. I have already wrote about how we go downtown for the annual Christmas lighting but we now have two new reasons to visit downtown during the holiday season and thus these two new events are going to be added to our Christmas Traditions list.
The first is the annual Christmas parade. We stumbled on this one as we were headed downtown to enjoy a piece of pie at a local diner. I believe that all 67,000 people that live in Turlock were downtown. The crowds were incredible and the parade was wonderful. They had marching bands from our two high schools, old tractors, horses, baton twirlers, churches, and anything else you can think of. There were lights on everything from buses to band members. We were amazed that such a big/small town had such a lovely parade. You can even get free hot chocolate at the local diner that we ate our pie at. By the way, I had a very good piece of mincemeat pie. Yum! This will definately be an every year event.
The second tradition added to our list was something that we enjoyed last night with friends who are a part of our church community and also live in our little town. We all drove down to the local Lutheran church to hear Handel's Messiah. We had no expectations and we arrived early not knowing how fast the seating would go. One of the professor's of music at our local State University is the music director at this church. We were hoping she would pull strings and add to the choir and the tiny orchestra. What we ended up hearing was nothing short of spectacular. We could not have asked for better accoustics. The musicians were top notch coming from the University and from Modesto's Symphony Orchestra. The soloist's did a beautiful job. The soprano had the voice of an angel.
We talked to the pastor of the church and he said that they started this a couple of years ago with the hopes of moving it to the local auditorium and creating a community tradition. I hope that we can be involved in seeing this dream come true. So, another tradition to add to our ever growing list.
Some thoughts on great music - If you ever get the chance to see Handel's Messiah in person I would encourage you to make the effort. Seeing it in person and hearing the strings and voices combined is a treat to the ears. Your children would benefit greatly from hearing choral music at its best. There is a reason why generations have flocked to cathedrals to hear this spectacular piece of music. It is long but the Bible comes to life in this two to three hour musical masterpiece. Our busy two year old sat through the whole thing!
If you do not have the opportunity to hear it in person then please sit your little ones down to listen to it at home. Read the passages and talk about how the music reflects the Word of God. For instance, in the part where the shepherds see the angels it is as if you can hear the twinkling stars and the angels themselves in the music.
Can you tell that I just love music? But, is there anything better than music that promotes the Word of God?

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