Monday, December 02, 2019

Day 2 and 3. Music For A Festive Season

Image from Pixabay

Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and
resonant, coming from everyone's very heart. There
was no sense of performance or judgement, only
that the music was breath and food.
ANNE LAMOTT


It's the time of year when my heart grows hungry for the singing of Christmas carols. Not just to hear them being played on the radio, CD player, or live streaming, but to sing them with real flesh and blood people lifting our voices as one, breathing new life into the old lyrics that offer a weary world consolation, hope, and joy.

Music was a central part of my childhood. My mother was the pianist in our church and I always loved to hear her play. She'd often play at home and I'd sit next to her on the piano bench as I attempted the melody line in the higher register. Maybe that's when I first learned to love Christmas carols. For it was my mom who taught me, as a four or five-year-old, to sing the beloved children's carol Away In A Manger. I was to sing this little song at our church Christmas Eve service that year. Except as I still vividly remember I had a case of stage fright, and there wasn't anything Mom could whisper as she knelt in front of me that encouraged me to open my mouth and sing those lines I knew so perfectly. Mom finally led me off the platform. No longer standing there with everyone watching, relief flooded my little soul. And, then suddenly I was ready to climb back on the stage to sing, but it was too late. My moment to shine had passed. Fifty-five odd years later and I still remember that moment as clear as ever.



Yesterday, we attended our first Christmas concert of the season. The musicians played with joy and confidence and the choral singers sang like angels -- the harmonies and descant in certain spots were positively spine tingling. When the audience was invited to join for a short carol sing, oh my, I felt a catch at the back of my throat. With a rousing intro on the pipe organ, the rafters rang as we sang The First Noel, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, and Hark the Herald Angels Sang. Everyone together. For me, it was bliss!

I wait for it every year ... that moment when I can join in the sweet refrains of an old, old story that's once again sung by people around the world. 

Let heaven and nature sing,
Let heaven and nature sing...

* * *

Wishing you a heart full of song this week.

Hugs,
Brenda
xx


Sunday, December 01, 2019

Hello December


Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than merely increasing its speed.”
May our slowing down this Advent be our gentle protest against the violence of
our rushing world. May our slowing down give quiet, steady witness to the values
of attentiveness, carefulness, patience, receptivity, stillness. May our slowing down
enable us to make real and meaningful connections with people, nature, work, art,
and (most importantly) with God.
MELANNIE SVOBODA, SND


It's December 1st and I'm awake in the wee hours. I ponder what to write here on my blog as the Advent season begins, as we wait for Christmas. Thoughts swirl around. I think about a friend and her daughter who is in hospital and whisper a prayer. I read a little to focus my thoughts -- this early morning I dip into Frederick Buechner's The Remarkable Ordinary, and I'm drawn to these words he's written:

"There is none like God . . .
who rides through the heavens to your help,
and in his majesty through the skies.
The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Deut. 33:26-27 RSV
"Joy is knowing that that is true from your stomach. Knowing that even though you see only through a glass darkly, even though lots of things happen--wars and peacemaking, hunger and homelessness--joy is knowing, even for a moment, that underneath everything are the everlasting arms." p. 120

I am comforted by these words as I think of my friend and her situation. I feel a joy bubble rising unbidden on the inside of me as I think those words in light of my own little concerns. It's been said that joy comes in the morning, how grateful I am that sometimes it comes while it is yet dark.

* * *

This morning the child in me happily opened the first window on my Jacquie Lawson Advent calendar. On it, I decorated some cookies and played a card game. Later this afternoon, we shall attend our first concert of the season, Music for a Festive Season with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble. Not Handel’s Messiah but lovely seasonal pieces by other old composers, including Christmas Concerto by Sammartini, Christmas Sinfonia by Torelli, and Magnificat by Vivaldi. And at the end, the conductor will invite the audience to join in and sing a couple of old familiar carols with the organ in full blast. In truth, it always turns out to be my favourite moment in the whole concert.

And so Advent begins. My friend Lorrie noted earlier on her FB page it's a season of longing, of hope, of waiting in expectation. Yes. I hope to be here every morning to offer a little something as together we wait, and count down to Christmas -- won't promise though.  

Wishing you a beautiful first day of December.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox