For the Record: As angels go, this little one has a bright future |

For the Record: As angels go, this little one has a bright future

by Sheila Gardner

It was quiet enough to hear a halo slip.

The lights were low, the few hundred people gathered at last Sunday’s Christmas devotional were settled in their chairs – some with heads bowed. For an hour or so, we reflected on the meaning of Christmas, encouraged to bring the seasonal pressures to a quiet standstill.

Our attention was focused on a closed circuit television screen in front of us, in anticipation of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s performance of “Silent Night.”

The music swelled to the familiar strains of the carol and the choir began to sing.

My reverie was interrupted by a little voice in the row behind me. The singer, no more than 3 or 4, just couldn’t hold it in any longer. Alone in the congregation, but along with the mighty choir, she softly sang, “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright.”

That was it. I don’t know if that’s all she’d learned of the traditional carol, or if somebody shushed her. But her sweet solo gave me one of those fleeting moments that makes me say to myself, “I get it.”

Having been in this business for so long, I learned to take my Christmases when I can. I try to recognize and appreciate the little epiphanies that occur all year long, rather than wrapping all my expectations in one overstuffed stocking to be opened Dec. 25.

And when I pay attention, I am not disappointed.

In a room full of weary adults and restless children, I hear a child sing “Silent Night.”

In our own community, we learn of twin brothers who didn’t think twice about turning in $200 they found and of a brave young girl who is willing to undergo a bone marrow transplant to save her mother’s life.

Before I leave you to be fitted for my own angel’s wings, allow me to confess that I am as guilty as the next person of obsessing over the perfect present, of caloric overindulgence and giving in to general holiday hysteria. I like to complain about it all, too.

At the end of each holiday, I promise myself things will be different next year. Then, I lapse into some kind of seasonal amnesia and forget that Christmas is Dec. 25, always has been, always will be. On Dec. 1, I’ve actually been heard to say, “December, already?”

This year, though, my resolve seems to be working – it’s only Dec. 9 and I’ve already heard an angel sing.

n Sheila Gardner is editor of The Record-Courier.