What Child is This Christmas Dance

And what I needed to relearn about choreography and ministry through this dance

Scroll to end of article to watch the video

I had the opportunity to share this dance (scroll to the end of the post for the video), choreographed by Pastor Lynn Hayden at a housing unit for those who have previously been homeless. 

I said I would share it with you and do so, hoping that through it you receive something from the Lord. I also share it because, as always, there have been lessons for me to learn.

This was an interesting experience of dancing for me. I loved learning this choreography so much. I loved the choreography and the gentle beauty of the instrumental song. (Alberto Rivera, from Christmas Spirit album). I think that, because of that, that I may have relied too much on Pastor Lynn’s preparation (prayerful choreography) without adequately doing my own spiritual preparation. I did pray over the event, I prayed as I danced. I included the people at Centennial in my prayers in the morning, but I carried some presumption that it would minister because the dance and song have been in my spirit. I enjoyed resting in Pastor Lynn’s choreography.

However, after I danced and based on the conversations I had about with people afterwards, I felt something was missing, primarily prayer. Especially in the context I was in (dancing for a community of formerly homeless people, some of whom suffer mental illness and active addiction), I needed to have been more prayed up. The enemy has so many strongholds in that place and I did not adequately take that into account.

My husband’s interpretation of what was missing was that it was lyrics. He was wanting lyrics to help him connect the movements to their interpretation. He asked if I could dance to the same song with lyrics on Christmas Eve. I said to him, “That is easier said than done.” I listened to other versions of What Child is This. Of course, none have identical timing or music and none even have the exact combination of verses.  

But my husband is also my Pastor, and deep down, I found myself wanting for lyrics to more explicitly embody.  

So, I prayed about it and asked for Pastor Lynn’s advice.

You presented that dance so beautifully. It was a joy for me to see choreography the Lord gave me, come to life. I didn’t even notice where you made any mistakes and wouldn’t have known had you not mentioned it:))

I agree with you about the setting/atmosphere, even the type of room or building and the spiritual condition there. This song or music is so sweet and gentle. I can picture it being done in a small church with seasoned believers, who would perhaps be more receptive.

I agree with your husband about lyrics (and maybe even a more bold song) may have been appropriate in that setting. So it was not you. You danced and presented it so beautifully!

I don’t see why you couldn’t put the choreography to another version of the song (one with lyrics). Certainly, some things would need to change to fit the new version. But generally, I would think it could work.

I think this is the first time I ever choreographed a dance to a song completely without any lyrics. But the moment I heard it, the music and meaning just moved me and the choreography came more easily than any I think I had ever done. 

I love to teach dances that the Lord gives me and am so honored and blessed when someone uses it to bless others. I always say, you are welcome to take it as is, or use some of the phrases in your own choreography or change it as the Lord shows you. So, if you want to rearrange it a bit to suit a version with lyrics…great:) 

I’d love to see what you do with it on Christmas.

From her email, I received the encouragement I received to begin reworking the choreography, as well as meditate on the lyrics and pray for those who will be in the congregation on Christmas Eve. The Lord has given me great joy in entering into the choreography process and in prayer. I would have liked to lean only on Pastor Lynn’s work, but he invited me to participate at a deeper level. 

Friends, these are lessons He’s had to teach me in the past. I could say, I’ve written blog posts in the past about the importance of preparing spiritually to dance. And yet, I needed to learn from experience once again. I’m grateful for our gracious God who came in flesh and blood and now lives in our flesh and blood bodies and invites us to embody his message and His Spirit as he dances. 

What you are you learning from Him today? Are there lessons you have had to learn and relearn? How did He speak to you?

3 thoughts on “What Child is This Christmas Dance”

  1. It was beautifully done, how ever it wasn’t you. I’ve seen videos of you dancing and your style is much more graceful and flowy. Just keep doing you. Mary

    1. Hi Mary. That is so interesting. Actually, what I loved about the choreography is that each move flowed so naturally into the next, something Pastor Lynn’s years of experience allows her to do with greater skill than I have; But for me, there is a flow that comes from connecting words, and hearing the lyrics while dancing does help me to really enter in expressively. Maybe that is what you are seeing is missing. And also I think there was something I the atmosphere that may have brought constraint. Thank you for watching and for your encouragement. I learned so much from this process. I shared the revised dance yesterday. What is also interesting is that, while I put so much time and effort into re-creating the dance, when I look at it, still so much of the choreography comes from what I learned from Pastor Lynn. Perhaps I just needed to own the whole process more, by the Spirit.

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