This is the time of year when I experience mood shifts ranging from what Churchill called the ‘black dog’ to euphoria but I never seem to hit that peaceful place that is supposed to be the hallmark of the season. Lately I’ve been a little closer to Churchill’s description. Perhaps it is manic depression setting in with age or perhaps it is just the fact that this is the 24th time I have experienced the dreaded ‘week before Christmas’ so feared by all educators. The events of this week usually put limits on the ability of any teacher to find a peaceful place be it secular or religious in nature.
There is a song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra set to the music of Pachebel’s Canon in D. It is a choral piece called the ‘Christmas Canon’ sung by a children’s choir and such choirs are the closest I might ever get to hearing actual angels.
The song is sung in a three-part round but the key line for me is “We are waiting, we have not forgotten….” and this line can bring tears to my eyes. At a time when I feel overwhelmed by a somewhat lonely and almost always thankless job, and the demands of being a teacher/administrator, lay minister (in training), father, husband, host parent, son-in-law, ATM, whatever, I find some measure of peace in knowing that I still can glimpse and understand the promises of the season that I believe to be true to the depths of my being. The promised peace and joy may seem to be elusively floating just beyond my grasp but I am waiting, and I have not forgotten.