My sister sent an email to my brother and me on Friday recounting favorite Christmas memories from our childhood.
As the images flickered thru my brain, I felt like Clark Griswold in the attic. Those memories are fantastic.
And then reality hit and I felt like Clark when the attic door was opened beneath him.
In Los Angeles. Such a warm and fuzzy place for the holidays. And strife continuing in the most unbelievable of situations. Who knew it would take lawyers and judges and the State of California and thousands of dollars to be able to parent your own daughter.
Feeling cynical and not in the holiday mood, I had no idea of the miracle I was to witness on Saturday.
Peanut's Brownie Troop was going to the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House to take gifts and dinner for the families staying there. I got to go along.
If you are feeling sorry for yourself, go visit a place where parents and grandparents are away from home staying in a strange place while their children are across the street clinging to life.
The Brownies and the moms were amazing. Preparing dinner. Making crafts with the kids. Arranging presents to match the ages of the children.
After a meal of golden arches burgers and lots of homemade desserts, a choir appeared.
In the lobby of this home for frightened and needy souls, about 40 of the best voices in the world began to sing carols. A Cappela.
This wasn't just any choir. These were pros. Stage. Movies. Music industry. Amazing voices.
And they were singing their hearts out for about 30 children and family members on a Saturday night in Los Angeles in December.
The choir leader invited several of the kids to come participate. And what joy it was to see their faces as they joined the music.
And then, the leader spotted one young boy in a stroller next to his mom.
The tumors on Andre's head are the size of softballs.
Scars tell the story of previous operations on this little angel's head.
He is two.
As she brought Andre to the front, the choir began to sing "Joy to the World".
The look on Andre's face was pure. Happy. Excited.
The look on his mother's face was the same. Her little boy was having a Christmas moment.
As I stood in the back of the room and took it all in, tears streamed down my face. I swear a golden light shown on that child's face. In this cold place, a song almost 300 years old and love from all around made that instant as warm and magic as any I've ever experienced.
Thank you, Isaac Watts.
Thank you, Handel.
Thank you, choir.
Thank you, Ronald McDonald House.
Thank you, Brownie troop and moms.
Thank you, Andre. And Godspeed.
Thank you, Lord.
I will forever repeat, repeat the sounding joy.