The Christmas Piano

by on October 5th, 2010
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An angel of the Lord descended upon an abandoned theater that lay like a wasteland of webs and snares. Searching for hope within the ruin, she spotted a piano, a grand piano, weathered and dusted to the point of revulsion.

In a whirlwind she descended upon the instrument, removing every visible blemish until it glistened with a gentle radiance that surpassed even its creator’s intentions. She transformed the theater as well, clearing the debris and restoring the crumbling walls and rafters.

When she was complete, she hovered above the room and waited, but there was no music. Surely the music of such an instrument would be breathtaking. But the music did not come.

With sorrow she ascended to heaven to summon the Lord’s advice. “What must I do to hear the music?” was her plea.

The Lord spoke. “Go back to the piano and prop open its lid. Within you will find eighty-seven broken wires and one that is still intact.”

“Should I try to reattach the broken wires?” she asked.

“No, for I have removed them for a purpose. In one strike of my hand I removed them. Only the one remains.”

“What about the remaining one?” the angel asked. “What is to become of it?”

“My child, is not my grace sufficient? Here, take this new wire. I created it at the beginning of time solely for this purpose. Return to the instrument and attach this new wire in place of a broken one, but whatever you do, do not lay a finger on the remaining wire, regardless of how tattered and torn it may appear. When you have completed my request, return to me.”

The angel did as the Lord requested, descending to the theater and attaching the wire. After completing her task she returned to heaven, where the Lord gave her another wire and encouraged her. “My steadfast love shall never cease, and my mercies will never come to an end, but shall be made new every morning.”

Each of the next eighty-six mornings, the Lord gave the angel a new wire which she brought to the piano, carefully attaching each to one end, and then the other. An occasional strum of the freshly installed strings brought comforting chords that would lift her spirit, if only for a time. Through all of this she remained obedient, resisting the temptation to remove the fretted wire. When she fastened the last new wire, she swirled to uppermost part of the grand hall and waited for the music, but none was heard. With sadness in her heart she returned to heaven.

“Lord, why is there no music? The wires have been restored, just as you designed. For eighty-seven days I have carried out your will. Has the time come to remove the tattered wire? Each day I fought the desire to tear it asunder, for surely it will ruin the chords of the new.”

“No!” resounded the Lord, “for as I have designed the eighty-seven, so have I designed that one. It must remain! My child, return to the theater and wait. You have done all that I have asked, but now you must wait.”

Like a falling leaf the angel descended from heaven and entered the theater. It was Christmas Eve, so she lit honeycomb candles throughout the room and added clusters of poinsettia, fragrant pine and holly. The aroma was splendid, but the piano remained silent. She sat alone, her demeanor reflecting not her divine purpose, but an earthly sorrow, for she did not know how to play.

On Christmas morning she awoke to a plume of mist and light within the theater. A host of angels rushed in behind her, and the Lord revealed himself to them. He sat beside the angel, and her face was once again like paradise and her soul like a flower.

“My child,” the Lord said. “You have sown in tears, but will now reap with joy. For I, your God, the Creator of the Universe will play.”

And the angel rejoiced in a majesty of music more beautiful than anything heard throughout history, on Earth or in Heaven.

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