By Joshua Hannah
Once again, members of BCC Detroit braved the perils of a Michigan winter to come together for their annual Christmas party. The sound and tech crew arrived early to the hall to set up for what was sure to be a special afternoon. Before the first of the guests arrived, the choir did one last run through of “Silent Night” to make sure they’d gotten all the harmonies right. Families began to trickle in, clad in their festive Christmas colors and excited for the day ahead. With the start of the Christmas party, one thing was sure: It was Christmas time again!
Our time together promised food, fun and performances of all kinds. However, the feast began with a message from God’s word, our primary reason for coming together. The theme of the feast was Christ, who came on Christmas, and was a gift to the world and each individual in the hall. We heard how we too could be gifts to one another. When what is heard from God’s word is put into practice in daily life, the love we have for one another is strengthened and purified. One of the youth shared that “It can be like seeing the sunrise when we see our friends.” Our presence can become a gift, and when we gather together we can be a blessing to those around us.
After the message, the performances began. They ranged from a rendition of Feliz Navidad that left the audience wiping tears away from cheeks sore with laughter, to instrumentals from performers not quite tall enough to see over the piano music stand.
The afternoon was filled with games and performances from all ages, but one group in particular was extremely eager. In fact, before the MCs could finish announcing that the children’s choir was next to perform, chairs scraped across the floor and the kids excitedly weaved through the maze of round tables to the front. Lined up in two neat rows, they sang enthusiastically. It was a hall full of smiles as the children sang about remembering the love they have for Jesus this Christmas.
During a break for lunch those smiles remained as people enjoyed a delicious meal surrounded by good friends.
Later, the Detroit Orchestra took to the stage. Made up of twelve players between the ages of twelve and twenty-seven, they played “Winter Wonderland.” Many of the orchestra members had the opportunity to perform the same piece at the Victory Christmas Feast in New York with the Victory Orchestra a few weeks prior.
Another special performance was shared between a nephew and his uncle. The saxophone duo played their version of Jingle Bells. Daniel who, in addition to singing in the choir, also played with both the orchestra and his nephew Tyler, shared that, “Making music with the younger ones is a Christmas gift in and of itself. I love seeing the joy it brings to them and the ones who hear them play.”
And Tyler describes what it was like to perform for his very first time: “At first I was nervous but still happy. I was very excited to perform with my uncle. When I left the stage everyone was clapping! I felt happy and appreciated!”
One consistent goal of BCC and affiliated organizations is to make it good for the children. And so, each year it’s our tradition that at the end of the feast every child gets to open a present. Youth, who some years ago were receiving the gifts, now help to hand them out.
Once the gifts have been passed out, everyone takes part in singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and with that, the Detroit Christmas party draws to a close. While the children depart with a bag full of sweets, a new toy and a smile, youth and parents leave with the mind to be a gift to the others and hearts brimming with thankfulness for another fantastic year in Detroit.