I was kind of melancholy this week as I thought about what I wanted to write for this week’s column.
I thought about weighing in on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s interrogation tactics a dozen years ago in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The report about CIA “enhanced interrogation methods” made me sick as I wondered if we had stooped to the level of the terrorists in some measure, even as I realize that America had been brutally attacked and the next wave of terrorist attacks was expected. It was a time of great fear.
Then there’s the ongoing national debate about police tactics following the deaths of unarmed young black men in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y. I feel grateful for the professional and courteous manner in which our own local police officers and sheriff’s deputies treat fellow citizens, but the national issue is frustrating because it pulls at the heart in so many ways, from how African Americans perceive that they are treated to the incredibly destructive reaction of protestors in Missouri and the divisive political tactics of black leaders.
But that’s another gloomy topic. We’re a week from Christmas, after all.
Then I attended the Lovell Elementary School Christmas concert at the Hyart Theatre Tuesday night.
I always look forward to Chauna Bischoff’s annual concert, and I enjoy Mandie Asay’s program at Rocky Mountain Elementary, as well. Unfortunately they were held on the same night this year, so I took the easy road, stepping across the street for the concert at the Hyart.
There’s something about a kindergartener or first-grader all spiffed up and singing with glee about Christmas that will warm your heart and help you forget about the world’s troubles.
Chauna’s concert is my favorite of the year, and from my seat next to our talented director, I can hear her singing with her students and encouraging them to sing out, follow her for hand motions or move on or off the stage. She even acts as a stage prompter, helping the third-graders with their lines during the Christmas play.
You cannot help but smile as eager second-graders sing “Reindeer on the Roof” or first-graders boogie to “Rock the Holly.” And the kindergarteners are cute as a button and side-splittingly funny in their exuberance. As I listened Tuesday, my heart soared.
This year’s third-grade musical was a good one – a tale about the “Littlest Reindeer” and her rescue of Santa Claus, who had managed to get stuck in a chimney. (Jadalie Marchant, the little reindeer, was marvelous, by the way.)
All in all, it was exactly what I needed, and I have regained the spirit of Christmas for the week ahead. Much as the Christ child came to this world to save us from our despair — the very event we celebrate next week — Chauna’s students have lifted my spirits.
As the Good Book says in Isaiah: “And a little child shall lead them.”
Indeed. And thank you.