“It is just about time to change things. It is just about time to say: Fine, it was night, but let the night pass, and let us decide now for day. Let us decide with a determination that comes directly out of these terrifying experiences, out of these lived connections, and that is therefore completely unshakable, even in the midst of instability.” – Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J., a German Jesuit priest condemned to death by the Nazis in Berlin, Germany
I am filled up with joy on this Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of JOY!
There is darkness yes, so much darkness, and yet we are there, now, when a light pierces the black. And it is a light so bright that nothing can diminish its warmth, beauty and goodness. Nothing.
Sunday night, we were privileged to watch our two daughters perform with their high school choir’s 2014 candlelight Christmas concert, “My Soul in Stillness Waits.” Even the words in the program alone were enough to move me, without one single note of music. But when the music came? I was moved, and my heart set right.
One of the first songs, “Muusika,” asks a question:
“It must be somewhere, the original harmony, somewhere in the great nature, hidden. Is it in the furious infinite, in distant stars’ orbits, is it in the sun’s scorn, in a tiny flower, in tree-gossip, in heart-music’s mothersong, or in tears? It must be somewhere, immortality, somewhere in the original harmony must be found: how else could it infuse the human soul, that music?”
What a beautiful, deeply meaningful time of year is Advent, which leads into the climactic moment of Christ’s birth — God’s touchdown in our misery-ridden world.
Recently, someone on Facebook asked what my favorite Christmas song is. I have a couple, but the one that has been in my heart the longest is “O Holy Night.” One year, quite a while ago now, I sang the solo for this song at midnight Mass. And nights like Sunday night bring it all back in a most beautiful way. Time stands still and I go back; back to the night of my solo, and then further back yet, to the night a babe was born who turned the world upside down in the most awesome way possible.
Do we realize how blessed we are to have this as our vision? I dearly hope we have not forgotten. Our yearly celebration of Christmas is a reminder. Let us not forget. Let us not lose sight of what we are moving toward!
The blessing of Sunday evening was enhanced by our two daughters singing, our Bishop John Folda on piano, a string quartet, a hand-bell choir, our very incredible choir director, Rebecca Raber, and a few other extras. (Listen to O Holy Night here.) Now, if I can just hold this night close to help gently illuminate the path in the crazy days ahead.
Q4U: What song sings in your soul this Advent?