Monday, December 5, 2011

"ChristmasTime" Is Here!

For the past four years, my kickoff to the Christmas season has been performing in (or at least watching) the Christmas production of Reagle Music Theatre. Reagle has been performing this show for nearly 40 years. It’s modeled after the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and includes Rockette-style dancing (including the March of the Wooden Soldiers, complete with the impressive fall at the end); a large vocal ensemble; a teddy bear Nutcracker; dancing and singing Santas, elves, schoolgirls, and Raggedy Anns and Andys; an audience singalong; a visit from Santa; and a living Nativity. It’s a treat for all ages, and it’s a wonderful festive celebration of Christmas.

I first performed in this show when my husband and I were just dating. He knew I was a performer, and he told me that he only wanted to do the show that year if I did it with him, since the rehearsal schedule for the month of November is intense enough that we wouldn’t be able to see each other much unless we both performed in the show. I was flattered that he considered me talented enough to join the group, and I warned him that I tend to get very anxious and a bit crazy during tech week, so if he saw me at my worst and still wanted to date me, I’d know we were on solid ground. He reassured me and coached me throughout the process, and I made many wonderful friends during that first year. And they were all delighted for both of us just a few weeks later when we announced our engagement.


The second year was much less stressful, because it was just refreshing my memory instead of having to learn everything from scratch, plus I was among friends from the very beginning. I was no longer one of the “newbies”; in fact, I was able to offer some help to the newbies that year because I had put together a bunch of notes and cheat sheets that I shared with them. It felt great to be able to offer help instead of asking for it. And of course, being a starry-eyed newlywed, every scene reminded me of the previous year when we were newly in love.

Our third Christmas together, we missed out on performing because I was busy giving birth to our son when rehearsals started. The wonderful specialness of that year was being in the audience and appreciating the performance from a spectator’s perspective, and also in having my son in the audience with us, at six weeks old, fascinated by the bright lights and beautiful music. His wide-eyed wonder was the perfect symbol of the season.

Last year was perhaps the most special performance at all, because I found out just a few hours before curtain on opening night that I was pregnant with our second child. And to make it even more special, during one performance, my husband sneaked our son into one of the scenes with kids.

This year marked my return to the stage after our daughter was born, and it was a special time for my husband and I, once again, to spend “couple time” together at rehearsals. Thanks to his wonderful mother and daughter, our kids were well taken care of while we rehearsed and performed, and we were able to enjoy some much-needed social and musical relaxation. And once again, as I was on stage, I recalled each past year of performing: falling in love, being a newlywed, being a new mother, and being a new mother again. This show is, in many ways, a symbol of both our growing love and our growing family. The message of the show is the peace and joy of the Christmas season, and the birth of Christ the Savior, and it reminds me that the holiday is not about giving or receiving physical gifts but about the gifts of love and sacrifice.

May we all be reminded of that as we go through this often hectic and tense Christmas season. May the joy and peace of the Christ Child fill each of your hearts in the coming days and weeks, as we approach the birthday of Him who brings salvation to the world. Oh come let us adore Him!


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