Christmas Cantata: Once Upon A Night

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 1:76-79. 

This Sunday Tuskawilla UMC’s Sanctuary Choir will share their Christmas Cantata Once Upon A Night. Thank you, Tim, Linda, and choir members for your hours of preparation and spirits of dedication to share this offering of song with us. 

(Thanks for inviting me to sing with you, too!)

My “once upon a night” Christmas Eve story is not nearly as picturesque as that first Christmas night. It was December 24, 2006. Andrew and I arrived to the cabin in the North Georgia Mountains where we would spend our honeymoon just as the sun was setting. We checked in at the lodge to receive our key and to eat dinner…only to get the key and be told that the lodge was closed for the next three days even though we called multiple times to ensure we would be able to eat there over Christmas. 

We had no food with us…save the few remaining cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster in the back seat of the car. And so began our pursuit – on Christmas Eve at 5pm – for a grocery store still open in rural North Georgia. 

Lord have mercy. 

We eventually navigated our way to a Walmart 45 minutes away. Andrew pleaded with the security guard at the front door behind the already closed security gate to let us in to buy some food for the next few days. 

Our Christmas wish was answered; “You have 10 minutes” was all he said. 

Andrew and I split up – I got in line at a register and he took off for frozen foods. When I saw him next he had waffles, frozen pizza, frozen chicken wings, and orange juice. 

Can you guess what we eat every Christmas Eve once we get home from worship!?

It was not glamorous, but it was our first Christmas Eve together. We laugh about it now, but I was so troubled in the moment. I start thinking about what I will eat next while I am currently eating; so, the thought of no access to food for a day or two caused me a great deal of distress. 

I am sure the Holy Family experienced a great deal of distress as they travelled to Bethlehem – Mary, great with child and Joseph, great with lingering concern about his betrothed and her child. And in the dark of night they found sanctuary in a stable-cave. In the dark of night they watched the Light of the world enter this world – our world – and through his life Jesus ushered them – ushers us – out of darkness into marvelous light. 

All once upon a night. 

I hope you will join us as the choir sings the nativity story in a fresh and wonderful light on Sunday morning at our 11am service. Morningsong will gather at 8:30am for prayer, Scripture reading, a meditation, and Holy Communion. Looking forward to worshipping with you on the Third Sunday of Advent. 

Prayer: “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given; so God imparts to human hearts the blessing of his heaven. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.”* Amen. 

*”O Little Town of Bethlehem,” The United Methodist Hymnal 230.