It came out of Russia, land of sorrow and tragedy. It sprang from a gentle man who was a lonely outcast. Though children have long delighted in it, its composer was childless. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote it — “The Nutcracker Suite,” 130 years ago this Advent.
At a moment of desperate need, a wealthy, loving widow, Madame Nadejda von Meck, (with eleven children) commissioned the composer to write a myriad of works. Thus began a dozen years of backing that freed Tchaikovsky to compose some of the finest work of his era. But shortly before he wrote “The Nutcracker Suite,” Madame von Meck, unexpectedly stopped her patronage. Tchaikovsky was devastated. Yet out of his torn soul came the beauty of this Christmas classic.
As we journey toward Christmas, the days grow shorter and darker. Centuries ago, the Church chose to celebrate Jesus’ birth in the darkest time of the year, the Winter Solstice. Thus, the gospel of Christmas proclaims that out of darkness, light has come. Dawn has broken, soaring music can be ours.
This season, remember in generosity and service those who have torn souls and those who live on the margins. It is in those conditions that God decided to be incarnate, born of lowly Mary, where there was no room in the inn.