“The Dance of Your Life” – The Nutcracker

Makenzie and Me

As I drive the streets of my facebook friends’ posts and tags and farkles (whatever those are!?), I am reminded that this is Nutcracker season for Makenzie’s Ballet Company.  (This would’ve been her last one with the dance family that she grew to love).  For me, my mind sparkles with the memories of sharing that experience with her on stage.

Below is an article I wrote for the magazine Connect Quarterly a few years back, about dancing with my graceful daughter who now dances with Jesus:

“I cannot believe that I am publically going to admit this, but … this year, I am a ballerina.  Ok, technically, a male ballerina is called a Cavalier but whatever the title, I’m making a sacrifice.  Let me explain.

Makenzie with one of the party girls

My daughter, Makenzie, is the real ballerina and every year, her company performs Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.  If you have a child in this performance, you know that every level of dance is involved in the production.  From little kids through older adults, every age group is on stage!

In The Nutcracker, one of the opening scenes involves adults at a Christmas Eve party at the Baron and Baroness Stahlbaum’s home.   This scene requires adults to play the roles of partygoers and enjoy watching children dance, receive gifts and be entertained.  With a shortage of talented adults, the casting representative became desperate and called me.


“Pastor Todd, would you play a part in your daughter’s Nutcracker performance?”  When I thought about donning tights and ‘jazz shoes,’ visions of a bad Mel Brooks movie popped into my head.

Nevertheless, in a weak moment, I said yes.  Yes, I will stumble around on stage, pretending I had grace.  Yes, I will endure being the target of degrading jokes at work from those who do not understand the arts, but I don’t care.

The Nutcracker in Kemah, Texas

I am doing this first for my daughter and secondly for me.  You see, it is one thing to watch her dance from an anonymous chair in the back of a dark balcony.  It’s quite another to be on stage with her, trading glances and smiles, dancing together, just the two of us in front of thousands.

Many of you reading this have the impression that God is not on your stage.  That He is only watching from a distance as you try to find your next dance move.  As you stumble from one broken relationship to another disappointment, you wonder if God even bought a ticket to your show.

Matthew 1:23 says,

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”

Caitlyn Cannon and Makenzie

Did you catch that?  God is with you! Not just in the peaceful, fun times but especially in the dark, confusing times.  He is on the stage of your life! Directing, producing, and performing with you in your ‘Nutcracker’.  No matter what you think, no matter what you believe, no matter what you have experienced or endured, God is with you.  He is Immanuel and He knows that the performance is not easy.  He knows that sometimes your life is tough and the steps to the dance seem to get more and more difficult.  But there is not a moment of your dance from which He is absent!  Even when you think you don’t want Him involved, He is there.

Psalm 139:7 says,

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

God being with you is what Christmas is about.  You are not dancing alone!  The Christmas celebration centers on Jesus coming to earth to be with us, from the first act to the drop of the final curtain, Jesus is with you.

So dance your heart out!  Wear tights if you want to.  Because your Immanuel, Jesus Christ, is with you, disciplining your sinful steps and loving you above it all!

By the way, if you are at one of the 14 performances of the Nutcracker in November and December, look for my daughter.  She will be the graceful one with her proud dad only a whispers distance away.


3 thoughts on ““The Dance of Your Life” – The Nutcracker

  1. Karen says:

    Todd and Kellie,
    I am so thankful that our paths crossed….Rose, Leah and I have been forever changed and have been so blessed by your family. I love that you were Leah’s Nutcracker parents! Every single word you both write inspires and guides us on this challenging earthly journey. After the Nutcracker performance this afternoon my thoughts go to the memory of checking in you, Kellie and Makenzie at the backstage door and how you all made me smile everytime….and the time when I refused to admit Makenzie without her hoodie over her head so that I would be able to recognize her 🙂
    remember Kellie?……….and when it got quite hectic out there with the audience of people waiting for their children to emerge and I was trying to process all of the cast members names coming at me fast and all of a sudden Makenzie emerges from the backstage door and plants this kiss on my cheek and applies a tight hug around my neck and tells me thank you and that she loves me, much to my surprise of course, and the public saw this embrace and chuckled, and from that moment on everyone was calm and quiet and waited patiently for their children. I need another hug and kiss like that! I miss Makenzie…..my thoughts and prayers to God every night are for comfort and peace to your family! I thank God for his perfect timing that you and your family moved to our area and we had the honor to first meet Makenzie and how she brought so much fun, kindness and overall happiness into our lives… I love you and Merry Christmas!

    Karen Hale

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