Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prepare Ye The Way

Well, it's the 20th...the last few days before Christmas!  I remember that the 20th made Christmas seem so close...yet so far...back in my advent calender and paper chain link countdown days in elementary school.  I remember watching the four advent candles being lit one by one each Sunday at church and feeling so excited for Christmas Eve!  Today or tomorrow is probably the last day of school for kids.  That last afternoon of games and Christmas parties and multi-grade trivia in the gym was always so much fun as were the final basketball and volleyball games before the break. 

In high school we had a tradition that we returned to every year at our Christmas concert.  Yes, we called it a Christmas concert back in the late 90's/early 2000's.  Our small North Dakota school escaped the political correct frenzy longer than many schools did and those days are even gone now, replaced with "Holiday" and "Winter" concerts where they sing and play secular songs like Jingle Bells, Up On The House Top and Winter Wonderland.  But when I was there we sang whatever our teacher wanted and she knew how to pick out beautiful and substantial music.  When it comes to holiday music, religious themed Christmas music tops the secular songs if you are using the music for eduational as well as entertainment purposes.  Anyway, it's too bad about that Christmas music.  I understand that lots of Americans don't celebrate Christmas even though where we live most of them do.  I just miss the old days I guess.  When I get annoyed by political correct stuff I try to imagine what it would be like to be a little kid in a awkward situation involving religion or holiday celebrations at school and I feel more sympathetic. 

Back to the tradition I was going to tell about.  There is a number from the musical "Godspell" called Prepare Ye (The Way of the Lord).  If you listen to a recording of it or watch a video, it is upbeat and show tune-y and the movie version of Godspell is straight out of the 70's.  It is actually pretty annoying.  Our teacher slowed Prepare Ye into a slow and beautiful tempo and the middle school singers would join us and we made a circle around the gym (no, there was no auditorium!) and we held candles and sang the song.  It is more special to me because I was the piano accompanist for a few years and I loved the piano arrangement.  It is hard for me to believe that was ever me, leading that huge group in song! 

Everyone loved Prepare Ye and people around town said they looked forward to it every year.  There were reports of goosebumps and eyes welling with tears as we sang.  It is a favorite memory of school.  It is always in my head during the last days of excitement and preparation before Christmas.  I probably won't be back on here until after Christmas so Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I look forward to seeing all the people I am related to who are reading this!

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