At Good Shepherd, there were parents, abiding in a field, keeping watch over their children Sunday night.
The music of little angels came upon them, and the glory of their sounds shone all around them. And on this day, in the community that is Plainview, a tradition of music and family was again reborn.
The glad tidings were delivered on a hillside at Good Shepherd Lutheran Chuch Sunday night, illuminated by the voices of little children and young adults beneath the shimmering light of a thousand bulbs.
The annual Christmas tree lighting drew together a remarkable assembly of public leaders and perhaps 200 private people in an evening of song, light and peace on earth.
The most calloused cynic could not but notice the hope filling that field.
Public officials of different faiths and political leanings stood side-by-side to raise their voices in song with those children. Good Shepherd's Pastor Eric Olsen beamed ear-to-ear as the Plainview JFK Choir performed. The group, under the dynamic direction of Adam Paltrowitz, was singing its trademark holiday piece: "Siyahamba," or "Marching in the Light of God," sung in English and Swahili to a distinctive African beat.
The smallest children appeared on stage and they all sang carols together.
Then, sirens split the chilled night air. The Plainview Fire Department was en route. Some in the crowd became fearful; was something wrong? They had not noticed Pastor Olsen placing a cell phone call during the singing.
Fear not: Plainview's Ladder 3 pulled in with Santa atop the tiller. St. Nick climbed down from the fire truck to the wonder of the children. As if by magic, the Jolly Old Elf set the great evergreen ablaze with light.
And if there were Angels in those fields, they surely proclaimed:
"Glory to God in the Highest. And on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
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