Tonight was a pretty magical night.
Little Miss V had her first ever dance recital.
She was so terrified, going in. She cried and begged us not to leave her, so we promised we would stay as close as we could. Patrick and I walked her across the gym, packed with adoring parents and grandparents, to the fluttering cluster of youngest dancers. "Hey, Vivian! Come on over! Don't be scared; this will be fun," her teacher greeted her, his kind eyes smiling right down into her own. And she went. Those little hands slipped quickly out of ours and she sat down beside her classmates, criss-cross-applesauce. "We'll be in our seats," I said to the back of her head, unnecessarily.
She did great. Their brief routine was precious.
And the whole way home she was rapturous with delight.
I remember Christmas concerts when I was a kid. It was always the fanciest feeling - hair curled and tied with ribbons, swishy dresses (so peculiar and out of place inside the school gym), waiting behind the long velvet curtains for our class' turn to perform. Parents and neighbours sat eagerly in the audience, ready to applaud at every turn. The whole world was dim and dark, except for the pool of light - our pool of light - onstage. And after all the intoxicating thrill and shivery fear of performing, we received the reward that the fundraising committee knew our parents couldn't resist - little paper bags filled with fudge.
So fancy. All the boys in button-down shirts and pants with creases, not a pair of velcro sneakers in sight. Dress coats and mary janes and tights that never seemed to fit quite right. Purses instead of backpacks. I am sure it didn't seem terribly fancy to our parents, but for me no outing has topped that rich, elegant-for-an-evening feeling of my elementary school Christmas concerts.
That first Christmas?
Not in the garland-and-tinsel way, either.
Rich. Holy. Glorious.
A new star a-spangle.
The One True King, arriving at last.
We keep Christmas pretty simply at our house, but my heart dances in the glory of this story like I'm princess Vava at a recital. This is the kind of holy Christmas splendour we can sink into like deep velvet, that gleams with fadeless gold.
Merry Christmas, friends.