Friday, December 25, 2009

Messiah 2009

Let Earth Receive Her King

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday it snowed, and as soon as the kids noticed the flurries outside our window they went running through the house, yelling, "It's a miracle! A miracle!!" I immediately thought of the song from the movie Charlotte's Web ("...just another ordinary miracle today...") and was flooded with thoughts of the many miracles that have surrounded us, both big and small.

On Sunday I "Handel-ed" Messiah again, and loved it. (I hope the audience loved it, too.) Last month my right ear underwent surgery. For the past four years my right brain has been under assault. But they still let me sing, and no one threw tomatoes at me. Earlier that day I led the choir and sang in a quartet in church. Today our family went to a nursing home to visit and sing with the residents there. Any venue is a joy.

Speaking of joy, we met a resident named Joy today. When we approached the nursing station and asked who needed a visitor, her name came up first. She was lying in her bed, looking very sad and alone. She didn't speak often, and when she did it was hard to hear. She said that it hadn't been a very good day for her, and she just wanted to lie still and be quiet. When we suggested a song, she consented. And then she brightened as we started with "Joy to the World." By the time we finished our visit she had opened up to us, and it was a precious moment. We saw others, and soon we had a following as residents would wheel along and join with us as we visited rooms.

No one at the nursing home was expecting us to come, but they all received us very kindly and graciously. And we received them as our new friends. Together we blessed each other. As we left, my son was especially happy, knowing that something good had happened. We all felt it. I kept thinking of the words we sang: "let earth receive her King!"

He is given to us as the greatest gift of love, and there are many ways we can receive Him. We can receive his healing, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. We can receive His word and live according to it. We can receive His promises and trust in them. We can receive His spirit and discover peace. We can receive His goodness and share it with others by doing good works. We can receive all things with gratitude and see our blessings multiply.

This year has been a happy one as we celebrate Christmas. In years past we have had less happy circumstances. No matter what, however, there is always room to receive our King.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I've just completed my fourth year of survival. (HIGH FIVE!)

The fifth year has just begun. (Hi, Five!)

This is like a mini-jubilee (one-tenth of a jubilee, to be exact). I've been thinking about what I want to do in this year.

Another Messiah performance is an easy pick. That's coming up on the 20th, and hopefully again on Easter Sunday. During auditions for the 2006 Easter concert, my brother Jim predicted that four years later people would see me coming to the audition and say, "Here comes Sister Oakes again, saying this may be her last year for Messiah." At the time I appreciated his confidence, but I thought it was pretty ambitious. However, here we are. In fact, after my last MRI, Jim called me and pretended to be from the Messiah Soloist Auditions Fraud Department, investigating allegations of a person faking a brain tumor to get some stage time.

Another book would also be nice. I just received a contract from a publisher for Jake the Puppy and Emma the Cat, based on a poem that I wrote when my daughter was a baby. In the spirit of the jubilee, maybe I need to free my other half-finished manuscripts from bondage. And maybe the stuff in my closets, too.

Being here for my daughter's fifth birthday next summer is very high on the list. Family vacations, reunions with the "gaggle" and other fun ideas have surfaced as candidates for this year of celebration.

As always, the passage of a milestone reminds me that I have received the gift of life, and like anything I receive, I want to use it faithfully and gratefully for something good. Above all, I pray that I will use this new year to help make manifest the mercies of God.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What's your favorite post?

This blog is more than four years old now. I am curious...does anyone have a favorite post?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009