Last Straws and Victory Dances

How does spending time in stillness with the art and music surrounding Jesus’ birth change us? How has it changed me?

Looking back, I can see that these lessons of the incarnation have totally changed my Christian outlook on life. Discovering the importance of celebrating Christmas and learning how to make Jesus the reason for the season has removed a heavy stone from my spirit. Being able to feel the importance of Mary and seeing the humanity of Jesus, who gave up the glories of heaven, has unclogged an artery of my Christian heart. I now can feel and understand that our Father is a loving God who desires to live among us. I realize now that he came to me where I was and brought me ever closer to him. God has spoken to me through these great masters, and I am comforted in the knowledge that so many who have gone before me also had such a close connection with our Creator. 

p. 173 My Dancing Day

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These closing words were the prelude to 3 long years of wondering why I had ever thought I could write a book. The traditional publishing process had become so flooded with manuscripts that there was a point I thought mine would never see the light of day and because of this, I couldn’t settle on the appropriate title. I tried one thing and another but nothing really stuck. I couldn’t find a way to express all my new found feelings for the story of Jesus’ birth. It was like I couldn’t imagine the book becoming a reality.

Untitled by Jules Cheret, c. 1890, oil on canvas, private collection. Photo copyright Whitford and Hughes, London, UK/The Bridgeman Art Library.
And then one day I firmly decided to go forward into self-publishing, I thought even if the book only finds 50 readers it is still better than collecting dust under the chair:)
 We are way beyond that now and I am so glad that I took the chance.
And so the cover and title were the last steps to making my book a reality.
I eventually came to the idea that the book needed to be titled after the last song in the book. This song uses the ideas of dancing as a form of praise.
We find examples in scripture for dancing as a form of worship when we read in Exodus 15 about the moment just after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea:
“Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourine and dancing.”
And then there is the very popular passage in 2 Samuel 6:
“David..danced before the Lord with all his might while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.”
So listen now to the feeling of these words.
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day 
I would my true love did so chance 
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;
Sing, oh my love, oh my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love
The idea of this song is that Jesus is singing to us about his own birthday.  I could just imagine him as a youth, dancing all around me and playfully inviting me to live his abundant life.
He is all around us with his presence, and we can imagine him smiling and laughing as he dances. This is not a picture of a suffering Jesus dying on the cross. Instead, this song gives a voice to the Jesus who is very much alive. This exuberant and joyful Jesus urges us to come join with him. And as we hear him sing this love song, we can allow ourselves to melt with the realization that more than anything else, he wants us to come join in the dance.”   p. 175 My Dancing Day
I really enjoyed revisiting these passages this week, because we all know that life can be very hard at times and when we find ourselves wondering why God allows certain things….I believe it is time for a bit of a reminder or refresher on the beautiful story of Jesus. These are the reminders that I really hope my ministry of God thru the Arts along with my book My Dancing Day will provide.
Will there be another book to follow this one? …maybe be….God only knows. But what I can say for sure is that I will be getting up every morning to embrace the decision to:
Kneel at the Manger
Stand firm at the Cross….and
Dance before the Empty Tomb
Dear Lord,
Comfort all those who have lost loved ones, my cousin Tina whose mother, my Aunt Maydean, went home to do her victory dance this past week… and Lord you know there are so many others who have lost loved ones, close friends, colleagues and those distant strangers in the news who are getting up today with a broken heart. Help us to firmly resolve to carry your light ever brighter into the world at Christmas, yes! …. but also, every day of the year.
In the name of Jesus our Savior who lives….Amen.
P.S. I thought for a little fun this week we would have a flashback scene from an episode of Fraiser. This moment is a classic and I hope you enjoy:))

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