Every year when Advent comes around I remember that I have to carefully protect my heart. Advent and Christmas have been blue times for me in the past, times when alone-ness felt lonelier. It's easy to be frustrated by the commercialism that pervades every-every-everywhere, and the pressure of buying good gifts for the people who I want to treat, in a life of adopted less-than-richness, that does get to me every year. I want to buy great gifts, I want to be generous to my family and friends, but I'm just limited, is all. When the radio stations start playing Christmas music in early November, I start to feel a little doomy. So, I have to be careful- I don't listen to those stations, I don't generally decorate the house until the last minute, and I try not to get caught up in shoppers' frenzy.
But I don't want to deny Advent's existence- I want to live Advent the way I think it is meant to be lived- in quiet, thoughtful reflection and anticipation of Christ's return... so instead of turning my back to the world, I try to choose carefully what I'll watch and listen to.
Last night Scott and I went to Providence at the invitation of a young woman who is a senior at PC- she was a little freshman girl when I met her, so long and so many great conversations ago. We went to see her (hear her!) in their Lessons and Carols at the college chapel. Another wonderful young lady is in the choir, one I knew at my last parish, and it was so neat to see both of them, one behind the other in the choir, beautiful landmarks of my time in ministry.
The music was breathtaking. We sat near the choir and the organ and could swim in the sound, and sing along at full voice, where invited. Gorgeous, and a beautiful way to start Advent right.
I used to restrict myself to two CD's of Christmastime music, one being added last year: the CD our parish music groups put together. The other one and I go way back (you'll see how far if you watch this video... this is NOT the best song on Jon Anderson's 3 Ships,
but apparently the only video out there.
But this year, I'm adding yet another to the short list- Sixpence None the Richer's new album The Dawn Of Grace- just out last week, I think. It's beautiful, and I love their arrangements of traditional songs, like this one. Their Silent Night, with an echo by the guy from Jars Of Clay, is gorgeous, and makes me teary.
So, happy Advent to one and all- God bless us, every one.