“Lord of the Dance!” That’s what she shouted out when we were having a mini hymn sing on the Sunday before Christmas And she wasn’t thinking of Michael Flatley. She was thinking of a hymn tune based on a Shaker melody (Simple Gifts) that runs us through the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
I have been listening to a lot of Christmas music this season, using youtube as the medium. There are many performances that have been video taped. To watch the musicians – instrumentalists and singers – make their way through Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Virgine, or the Christmas Oratorio (Heinrich Schutz or J. S. Bach – take your pick) is to watch people dance. As they breathe, they move. They dance with their arms, their feet, their facial expressions. I think, perhaps, to be human is to dance.
My daughter and a collaborator recently posted a video called: Three Views of the HIggs and Dance. They asked physicists to describe the Higgs Boson. It is fascinating to watch these scientists move as they search for metaphors. Their bodies become the metaphor as the video concludes with music put to the movements of the physicists. All the while, they are dancing to the music of scientific inquiry and discovery. They move gracefully, or fitfully through the process of describing something that excites them. They are creating and incarnating the choreography.
“Happy holidays.” I don’t even know the people, but as they pass by me in this season they can’t help themselves. They momentarily dance with a stranger. That’s what the Christ has done to us – made us all participants in the dance of redemption. Without even knowing it, we yield to the yearning within – we can’t help but move with the Spirit.
Today – this eve of Christmas – today is a dancing day. In joy and in sorrow; in times of blessing and seasons of grief; surrounded by abundance or wandering in need – this is the day that holds something for all of us. The story of the birth of Jesus is the music. Watch yourself today. And take note of others. With tears in our hearts or smiles on our faces … we are dancing, aren’t we?
A blessed Christmas …