Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war
From the song written in 1950 by singer-songwriter Ed McCurdy and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel for their Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. album released in 1964.
The morning after Thanksgiving I had the strangest dream. I dreamed Keith and I were in church, attending a Christmas service with the sanctuary filled with people. Children skipped and danced in front of the altar. Pastor encouraged and frolicked with them. Candlelight shimmered throughout the room.
Off to the side, musicians played various instruments, including the harp. A choir sang, making a joyful noise unto the Lord. In back of the sanctuary, ringers put down their bells and clapped percussive rhythms. A line of women, from young to middle-aged, appeared in front of the musicians and vocalists. Their faces from left to right reflected the expressions of Mary during the lifetime of Jesus: obedience, joy, sorrow, and trust.
A woman, sitting behind me, tapped my shoulder. “I wish you were playing flute,” she said, “we love to listen to you.”
I smiled. “Thank you, but today, I get to listen and watch. It’s a blessing either way.”
Upon waking, the Simon and Garfunkel recording, “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” played in my head. How idealistic we were back then, I thought, yet hopeful. We dreamed we could end war, join hands in prayers of gratitude, and dance around our weapons scattered on the ground. Joyously celebrating the end of sorrow, suffering, and death.
Not in this life, I thought. In my mind’s eye, I saw the faces of Mary. A reflection of the true cost.
Yesterday was the first day of Advent, the season of anticipation and hope, of darkness and light. Signs of Christmas appeared earlier this year, after Halloween in some cases. Many pictures of Christmas trees in various stages of decoration were posted on Instagram and Facebook. Since gathering freely in person is yet a dream, we need to encourage one another this strange year.
Last night, our neighbor’s Christmas lights gleamed, shining up the mountain toward us. “Love your Christmas lights!” I texted. Today, I retrieved the garland from the upstairs closet and, with help from our son before he returned home from Thanksgiving with us, wound the lights around the loft railing.
Perhaps our neighbors will turn on their Christmas lights again tonight. Perhaps they’ll look up the mountain and find encouragement in our lights, too. Perhaps we’ll have the strangest dream we ever dreamed before, and dream the world had all agreed to celebrate the true Christmas.
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Carole, your dream tells me that the spirit of Christmas never leaves us. Even in the darkness of what we have endured this year, the lights illuminate our steps once again. Jesus is coming!
Thank you, Richard, and God bless you!