Today the kids and i were exploring at a local stove works factory turned shopping center. It’s a unique spot that houses artisan studios, a craft coffee roaster, our town’s farmers market, and a stunning event hall. The skylights were letting in as much light as the gray winter day would allow and the twinkle lights along the corridor shined even more brightly because of it.

As we neared the end of the old building, we heard singing. It was a choir. They were singing “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” one of my very favorite hymns with lyrics by one of my favorite American poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

“The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.”

The singing was sublime, but as I looked more closely at the choir, I noticed it. Men and women in wheelchairs, some staring blankly or twitching and fiddling their fingers. This was a 30-strong group of special needs men and women.

Tears immediately streamed down my face as I listened to these beautiful people rehearsing their performance in the ballroom. They sang out with strong and simple hearts, a song of ultimate hope and peace. I sighed after several minutes as I stood in the shadowed balcony with my kids, overwhelmed with peace and sadness all at once. We were the only audience privy to this grace-filled performance.

Well, us and all the angels.

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