I knew this video would go hugely viral when my father-in-law first e-mailed it to us. I even saw that the morning news beat me to the punch, sharing it today. (I knew I should have posted yesterday!) This Youtube video has become extremely popular to watch and to share because it expresses a beautiful moment of transcendence; the kind that we all want, especially during our harried holiday season. Shopping malls and food courts embody the urgency we are all feeling in a time that we wish would inspire awe and stillness. The song expressed the way that God breaks through all of that and enters our lives in unexpected ways. It gave me chills.
We all crave such experiences. More than just stress relievers, we long for the holy to break into our lives, to remind us that we are a part of something much greater than ourselves. In such encounters, we are called away from our day-to-day concerns and the things that divide us, and we are drawn together into one body. We are reminded that we are part of each other. Whether we realize it or not, we all hunger for the transcendent.
These opportunities abound if we have eyes to see them. This is what we do when we gather in church for worship, around a piano in song, or around a table for meals. Interestingly, transcendence often requires that we be together to experience it. Such events must be enjoyed with others. Because I am a mother of autistic children, I am aware that one of the earliest interactions a child may have is to look into the eyes of a parent in order to share an experience. It is an early developmental version of “Do You See What I See?” that sadly many autistic children lack. This simply means that we work harder at that connection and are often made stronger by the effort. We don’t do it alone. After all, angels were dispatched to invite Jesus’ guest list of shepherds and magi. I believe they will take the trouble for us as well.
We have now finished our Advent dinners that I have been planning for so long. Obviously, we still eat. And my recipe project is ongoing. But this one small experiment is at an end. I am deeply grateful for our family’s time together each Sunday night. Anyone watching would find them rather mundane; not particularly exultant, with no visible angels or singing. They would likely not make a viral video. Nevertheless, they were holy moments, embodying the promise of God’s presence in the breaking of bread.
Each moment we spend together has the right ingredients for holiness. Our family is made up of four people, each with our own cares, concerns and distractions, drawn together for nourishment and celebration. Whether or not we take time to notice, our shared meals and time together make us a part of the very thing we celebrate: the presence of the divine here on earth. Jesus’ humble birth teaches us that the sacred can visit in both jubilant and quiet moments. With or without the chorus, the Messiah has indeed come in our hearts. Hallelujah!
Chicken and Rice (or Pork Chops and Rice)
Melt one stick of butter in a 9x12 baking dish. Mix 1 c. uncooked rice, 1 c. water and 1 can cream of celery soup. Put in baking dish. Prepare meat by seasoning and place on top of rice. Cook covered for one hour at 350o. – Jane Henderson
Apples, peeled and chopped oranges, peeled, cut in chunks
Bananas, sliced coconut, shredded
Grapes, cut in half whatever other fruit you have
Sprinkle instant vanilla pudding mix on top of the fruit. Pour a very little orange juice over the mixture or squeeze some of the oranges over it. Stir. Chill for several hours or overnight. Eat. Delicious. – Wavie Lee Mims and Eunice Henderson