Our 6th Annual Children for Children concert last night was lovely (you can learn more about what these concerts are about in my post from last year's concert here). The kids and I spend the whole day yesterday answering last-minute questions from attendees, cleaning up and setting up the old church down the street where the event would take place, practicing parts, getting the Nativity costumes in order, putting the program together and making treats to serve at the close of the evening.
Then around 4pm it started snowing in earnest and while we've all been craving more snow, the huge clumps of snow falling from the sky weren't so welcome when we were worried about how the snow would affect people's ability to get to our concert. Sure enough, around 5pm, we started to get phone calls from people who were planning to come from more far-flung places who weren't going to make it thanks to the weather. We also got a call from a family with stomach flu, a family with a broken-down car and a family who dropped the autoharp they were going to play at the concert and sadly had to cancel the performance they'd planned to do. It seemed most of our larger families who were planning to come had had to cancel for one reason or another and as our planned-for numbers dwindled, we were feeling a bit sad. So we knelt together and prayed that the people who really needed to be there would be there and that it would be a good experience for everyone who attended and that we'd be able to raise a decent amount of money to help the orphans. Then we all felt much better.
The concert turned out to be really great. Our numbers were fewer than last year but that made it all the more friendly and relaxed. Ashton was an excellent MC. All the kids on the program did a lovely job dancing and singing and playing instruments and received enthusiastic applause for their efforts.
One of my favorite moments was when one sweet neighbor girl got up there to sing and lost her nerve. After a few moments of silence with no one knowing quite how to handle the situation, three other neighborhood kids rushed up there to be her back-up singers and the four of them carried off a rousing rendition of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." That little moment seemed to typify what the whole evening was about - children seeing needs and helping other children. Whether you're helping orphans in Bulgaria get healthy food and medical care or helping a neighbor sing a song, giving and helping kid-to-kid is a beautiful thing to see.
Perhaps my favorite part of each "Children for Children" night we've done has been opening the box of donation with my kids. I think they're more excited to open this box than pretty much any other box they get at Christmas.
How wonderful to see my kids so excited about getting something that they get to give away! They get stars in their eyes as we count up the money and talk about all the great food and warm blankets and fun activities that THEIR money they worked hard to earn will help their little orphan friends to have. It's a beautiful sight.
For anyone who'd like to get their kids involved in some sort of a "Children for Children" holiday giving effort, here's a very simple 3-step process for you: