What an amazing evening.
The Ryman Auditorium is one of those places where there really isn't a bad seat. But, we were lucky enough to be towards the front of the balcony which seems closer to the stage than the floor.
Vince Gill and Amy Grant came out and began the evening with a lot of traditional, upbeat seasonal songs like "Winter Wonderland," "Santa Clause is Comin' to Town," "Let It Snow" and so on... the stage set was beautifully and the tunes were relaxed--jazzy even. Vince joked that he should be smokin' a cigarette and wearing shades because it really had the feel of a bluesy nightclub. It was a nice way to unwind.
Then, Vince shared a story and a song that I will never forget.
He told us about his brother and how he had been in an accident in his early 20's. He was not supposed to recover but he did; unfortunately not enough to ever really be the same. He couldn't hold down a job and his life started to spiral. Vince talked about the nights his Mom and he would drive around looking for his brother at various homeless missions, etc. He got a little choked up talking about the charity that the proceeds of the evening would go to...a charity that benefits missions--much like those that his brother relied upon during the last years of his life.
He then sang the song "Bread and Water" which we had never heard. Let me tell you. There was not a dry eye in the house and he received a FIVE MINUTE standing ovation. Do you know how long 5 minutes is? Vince broke down in tears on stage in the face of such a warm response. It was extremely moving. The song talks about the bread and water served to a homeless man at a mission and how that's all he needed...and how Jesus is our bread and water...and that's really all we need. It added such a meaningful touch to the evening...kinda brought into focus what we were really there to celebrate.
Whew. The other really touching moment came when we all stood and sang Oh Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night a capella. Tears streamed down my cheeks to look around at everyone in the Ryman with their arms around each other and singing in beautiful harmony.
The evening was fun. and touching. and meaningful. and moving.....a perfect lead-in to a holiday that sometimes comes and goes too quickly. It has for me this year and tonight made me realize that.
Instead of stressing about cleaning or wrapping tonight, I think I'll lay here and listen to the raindrops outside and count my blessings. I don't want it to pass me by this year......