For years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has mounted grand productions for its Spanish-speaking Saints. And each one seems to outshine the one that came before.
On Saturday, the latest extravaganza was “Luz de las Naciones” ("Light of the Nations"), a Christmas pageant of sorts that sent great waves of sound, light and color through the hall and through everyone inside it.
It was a marvelous show.
And yet, each time I leave that great auditorium after such an event, it’s never the pageantry that stays with me, but little moments that tended to knead together all those who were there.
I remember the time the late Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles brought the house down at such an event with a simple joke.
Speaking in flawless Spanish, Elder Scott told of two cats camped outside a hole where a mouse was hiding. One cat went “Squeak! Squeak!” When the mouse emerged, he pounced. After their dinner, the first cat said to the second. “You see? There are real advantages in being bilingual.”
The folks in the audience roared. They all knew the blessings and bedeviling work that comes with learning a second language. For a moment, all of us there seemed to blend at the edges.
We felt connected.
And such connections, I think, are the essence of life.
When new connections are forged, we celebrate.
When connections get broken, we weep.
And we cherish above all else our connections to our loved ones and our God.
In great crowds, such connections mean there are 10,001 spirits on hand — the 10,000 individual spirits of the people and the one spirit they all share, the connecting spirit that stitches them together like blocks in a quilt.
And in that moment, something inside of us says, “We are more alike than we are different. When isolation and despair set in, remember moments like this, moments when we found each other.”
On Saturday night at “Luz de las Naciones,” there were several such moments. One came, for me as Sister Gioconda Vaca sang a simple lullaby, “A la nanita nana.”
For a couple of minutes, it seemed as if thousands of us were being sung to sleep by a guardian angel.
It felt as if, above the “deep and dreamless sleep” of Bethlehem, the only light that mattered was one simple guiding star and the only sound that mattered was the voice of a mother singing her child to sleep.
For me, that lullaby moment bonded us more than all the “cumbias” and “cuecas,” as wonderful as they were.
For me, it meant the music of the spheres wasn’t always grand and majestic. Sometimes, it was a cradle song, sung by a parent above to a vulnerable child below.