A friend invited me to go to the Advent Market. I hadn't heard about it, but I was free so thought it would be nice to spend time with her. I certainly was not expecting much. What I experienced blew me away! I could not stop saying, "This is amazing!" ,"Oh, look at this one!", and "I can't believe how nice this is!"
While many people were probably involved in planning and organizing this event, it was clear that one family went above and beyond in their efforts to create magic in the town this year. Over 36 handpainted, lifesize Nutcrackers lined the sidewalks and plaza in the downtown historic district. Each nutcracker was sponsored by a business, organization or individual. There was a policeman nutcracker, a St. Francis nutcracker and a Phantom of the Opera nutcracker. There were nutcrackers "dressed" as a waiter, wisemen, soldiers, soccer player, St. Nicolas and even an Italian gondolier.
It was as if we all felt the hope, the surge of pride, the spark of creativity and kindling of desire to breath life back into our town. From one family's hard work and vision, we could feel new life taking root. It was as if the Nutcracker had once again come to life and was dancing in our midst.
I began to imagine the future, the people of our town rallying together to make this an event that our children would want to come back to enjoy, people in neighboring towns and cities would drive to see, and businesses would be eager to support.
What did this one family, with many children and a family business to run, contribute this year to Christmas in our town? It was certainly more than a few dozen nutcrackers, some wooden huts and a creative idea. I believe they dug deep, committed themselves to the town, and gave of themselves in a passionate, enthusiastic way that will bear fruit for years to come. They roused the hearts, the minds, and the imagination of all who danced with the nutcrackers.
Now it is our turn to pick up the dance and make our contribution. What part can you play?