Today we had our Christmas sacrament meeting, and it despite all our anxiety, it went pretty well. The Primary kids hadn't really learned their songs, but I think people are mostly just happy to see them up there looking cute. When we walked into the chapel for pre-meeting choir practice, the bishopric was struggling with the song they were going to perform, so Bishop made some last minute recruitments, including his son singing bass and Athena singing alto. Also, they decided not to sing a cappella after all, so I got recruited to play the piano.
But I was mostly worried about the choir number, because I have page-turning anxiety, and because there were a lot of cords played in succession during the last verse. By the time the choir finally performed, I was shaking so badly that the girl sitting next to the piano (she is in the choir, but she wasn't feeling well, so she didn't sing; nevertheless, she had a spot on the program as a piano soloist, and her mom wouldn't let her out of it (but she did go right home after the meeting)) could see it.
It wasn't over yet, though! There was a sort of last minute, sort of not last minute addition to the program. A pair of sisters had been asked to sing "Mary's Lullaby" (or had been asked to sing something and chose that one themselves), and somehow that didn't make it onto the program. So right before the meeting they asked the bishop if they were still expected to sing it, and the bishop said sure, and fit them in at the end. Then they got up to sing and looked at me like, "You're accompanying us, right?" Fortunately, I had played it a few times before, when playing prelude music for Primary events like baptisms and stuff. Athena told me later that the sisters' mother had said to her (Athena), "My daughter's on her way. It's 'Mary's Lullaby.' Does she know it?" "Um, I think maybe?" "But she's at least heard it, right?" But Athena never got a chance during the meeting to suggest to me that I was expected to play. We'd heard that that family was notorious for asking accompanists at the last minute, but wow. That's hardcore last minute.
It turned out pretty well, and the sisters sang beautifully. There were also three piano solos by the Primary girls who are learning piano, and a song that was accompanied by their piano teacher (sung by the piano teacher's husband). So we had a lot of nice music, with some reading of scripture passages.
Then it was time to teach Primary, which is always an interesting experience. The lesson was supposed to be on how giving is better than receiving, and if you don't have money, you can give acts of service. But as soon as we mentioned the idea of gifts, the kids all started thinking about Santa and no other messages would reach them. (Athena and I ended up team teaching, because my class was combined with the Sunbeams, and none of Athena's students had shown up.) We had an activity where we gave them cards and instructed them to draw something nice that they were going to do for a family member for Christmas...and most of them drew pictures of what they wanted from Santa.
So we're still trying to figure out how to convey messages in a way that the kids will process them. Maybe someday we'll have it figured out. Right now our best idea is to team teach all our lessons, and present them in the format of a stage musical. But that might require some song-writing and/or choreography, and we're not sure we have time for that kind of effort.
Today I'm thankful for the lovely sacrament meeting we had, the kids at least not being entirely unmanageable during the lesson (they liked acting out stories, but then they all wanted the same part), the Christmas tree ornaments we got as gifts from the Primary presidency, getting a ride home from church (we stayed late for tithing settlement, and our regular ride went home to take care of her sick daughter), and the Buzzfeed "I Wish I Could Be A Disney Princess" song.