Wednesday, November 23|Stories

Hope and the Art of Christmas

I am a professional modern dancer.

My dance workplace environment is made up of lovely, beautiful individuals, inside and out. What I’ve realized in my years within this community, that I care so deeply about, is that they often have no idea that “we” exist. If I’m keeping it real, my friends in the dance community have a visceral reaction to Christianity. Even though they know me and they see me, they do not see a Christianity that is loving or kind, and have not often experienced “good news” demonstrated by people of faith.

And this election season has been an interesting time to navigate representing Christ and His Church both in and out of the rehearsal studio.

In conversations with my friends and family around the watercooler or the holiday dinner table, it is difficult to find the right words about hope, peace, and salvation. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m much better at expressing myself through movement than I am with words.

That’s why, as an artist, I absolutely love that Jesus taught so much through parables. I think it points to how we are wired as humans, to learn and experience many of God’s truths through art. Story, music, dance, and the visual arts can captivate our attention and reach into our hearts and souls, communicating truth in a very personal way.

Erica with her family. Photo: Katie Gardner

This is the first year my son is going to attend the Collective and I am beyond excited for him to see such a large and diverse group of humans celebrating the birth of Jesus.

The Christmas Collective is an amazing opportunity to show our community what those of us following Jesus are all about. They get to see what we are up to in this world, what we believe in and what we care about. It is such a gift to be able to invite people to witness a stage filled with crazy-talented musicians and singers to hear the message of Christmas. How awesome to have a Market filled with goods that do good spilling out into the streets of Downtown San Diego, demonstrating our heart for the world.

I often think I need to land on answers that will somehow persuade or convince others that my faith is warranted.

It feels important, in this moment, to simply be honest and invite people in.

Let them experience this celebration of the Christmas season for themselves. Let them see us working to help all those God loves. Let them stand beside us in our joy and our faith and our off-key offerings of O Holy Night.

And let God reveal Himself to us all.

Erica is a company dancer with Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater and performed a piece at the Christmas Collective in 2013. She is a wife and mother of two.

Watch “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” featuring Erica from the 2013 Christmas Collective.

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