It's Advent, a penitential season during which Christians seek quiet in which to prepare for the coming of the Christ child. Can someone please tell me, then, why the world seems to throw so much more at a person during this time? Here is an outline of my week that contains just the things that are out of the ordinary--special events, rehearsals, and such that I would normally not have.
Voters' meeting at church (to which I didn't go because of the next item)
Nursing home performance with my community children's choir
Staff Christmas Party
Dress rehearsal for next weekend's children's choir concert
Evening concert at the high school I play for
Two daytime concerts and one evening concert at the the junior high I play for
Chamber orchestra practice for the Bach cantata that my church choir will be performing for midweek Advent service next week, plus an extended adult choir practice for Advent/Christmas
Yay, I think it's a normal Friday!
Full dress rehearsal for children's community choir concerts on Sunday
Daughter has Tae Kwon Do evaluation
Son has chess tournament
Sunday School Christmas program
Two performances with the community children's choir
I realize that Christmas is coming, and there are certain things, like Sunday School programs and staff parties and special church services, that are to be expected this time of year. I'm not complaining about those--they're part of the joy of the season! But I find myself wondering: all these secular school and community groups that I play for--groups that may sing Christmas songs here and there but are careful to balance them with other traditions and to point out that they are singing them for the sake of art and not faith--why do they all have their big winter concerts in December, right before Christmas? Why not in January, in the lull when people don't have so many things vying for their attention? Why now?
I suppose the choir directors would say they need to do it now because they would lose ground with their singers over the Christmas ("winter") holiday. But I'm not so sure. The school break is only two weeks. They could revisit the music for a couple of weeks when the students return and have a very fine performance. And having the winter concert in January rather than December would address all the nervousness that secular institutions feel about being seen as embracing Christmas too much.
And best of all, it would make my life a little less crazy and my Advent preparation a bit more peaceful and reflective. But seeing as how I'm not the one who designed the schedule, I should probably bid you all farewell until next week. In the meantime may you breathe deeply and slowly of the Christ Child's grace!