Wow! I spent nearly eight hours in church yesterday! That may sound terribly pius, but it wasn’t really, as most of the time was more musical than prayerful. But don't worry, there were some prayerful moments too. Rachael and I arrived at nine for choir practice, then sang at the ten o’clock Mass, then had more practice for Christmas Eve. Then home for a little rest – actually, for a little housework – then back at four for more practice - this time for the Schola part of the Christmas Eve Carol Service, then singing at the five-thirty Mass, then the big event of the day - the Lessons and Carols service in the evening. This is one of my favorite services of the year, and I have several friends who will agree that it is truly the most wonderful - simple, direct, straight to the heart. The amazing St. James children’s choirs sound like little celestial beings as they sung carols from all over the world. These are interspersed with marvelous Christmas readings from the gospels, and carols for everyone to sing. The finale is Silent Night, first sung by the kiddies in German as the lights dim and candles are lit throughout the cathedral. It seems so solemn, mystical, and wonderfully moving.
The real thrill, however, was little Rachael singing a part in a trio – “Once in David’s Royal City.” I wondered if I would be able to hear her well from my perch half a block away, but she sounded like a little cello – bright, clear, and beautiful. My heart went pitter-pat with grandmotherly pride. In the picture, you can see a little blur of her on the altar, singing away.