A group of my friends caroled during the lighting of Main Street last Christmas, catching the attention of a little boy who was about four years old. His Father crouched down behind him, holding his arms. Occasionally this Dad would point over his child’s shoulder, explaining some feature of our carols which the boy clearly had never experienced before.
I didn’t hear all of what the Dad said. It was something about Jesus being born—something about why we were singing— and how this nearly extinct Holiday practice of singing in harmony was once more common. Judging by what little I could overhear, the Dad was sharing a family memory, too.
God was helping unite this dad to his son, and the son to previous generations of his father’s memory. I know that this father reconnected me to my own childhood, too. My Dad would similarly crouch behind me. He had the habit of tightly inhaling a short breath as he turned a page of my story book, or saw something interesting, coaching a sense of wonder at life’s mysteries.
Though the child had no idea what was happening in me or in his Dad, through the singing of traditional songs God connected this young boy to a thousand years of history. Harmonies joined families, generations, and the community together in ways that only Divine Mystery can fully comprehend.
It would be great if all of us resolved to be in public spaces more. Community gatherings and spaces where we all can come and unite with one another are important. My bet is that our differences will not keep us from being mysteriously connected more deeply. I believe that because Christ is mysteriously active joining all things in heaven and earth together in love. (Ephesians 1: 10)