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Christmas Eve

I enter the quiet sanctuary. The flames of the candles dance in the breeze as I walk through the doors. The morning sun through the stained glass windows makes patches of colored light on the floor. A group of parishioners gather for prayers as I set up my harp and equipment.

Due to a quirk of the calendar, I play both Advent and Christmas music today. I load, unload, and reload my harp-mobile several times throughout the day. I drive carefully over the snow-covered roads, thankful that the weather is better than in some previous years.

Tuning becomes a meditative practice. Despite the frantic pace of the season, I am calmed by the familiar ritual and the need for concentration. I hear the choir rehearse one last time in the basement. The chapel is transformed by Christmas lights and candles. Several of the pieces I play are a yearly tradition yet still bring joy to both me and the people I play for. I smile as the choir, piano and harp intertwine.

And then the last prayer is spoken, the last piece of music is played. I pack up my harp one last time and head home, grateful to be done but also grateful for the chance to join in worship. I am tired but also at peace.

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