• advent journal: singing in the dark

    by  • December 16, 2014 • advent journal, music • 2 Comments

    Going to the mall each day means being inundated with holiday music — well, the same ten songs. I thought tonight I might offer a soundtrack that has found me in these days. Talking about Patty Griffin’s “Mary” a couple of days ago set me to thinking. My list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it traditional, as far as Christmas music is concerned, but these are songs to learn and sing. Together.

    Paul Simon’s most recent album holds a song called “Getting Ready for Christmas Day.”

    Getting ready, oh we’re getting ready
    For the power and the glory and the story of the
    Christmas Day

    To say Steve Earle has a Christmas song might be surprising to some. He actually has two. “Christmastime in Washington” remains powerful and current, but tonight I want to point to “Nothing but a Child.”

    Nothing but a child could wash these tears away
    Or guide a weary world into the light of day
    And nothing but a child could help erase these miles
    So once again we all can be children for awhile

    Somewhere along the way I picked up Over the Rhine’s record, “Snow Angel.” One of the songs is called “Here It Is.”

    somewhere down the road well lift up our glass
    and toast the moment and the moments past
    the heartbreak and laughter, the joy and the tears
    the scary, scary beauty of whats right here
    I’m wrappin’ up my love this Christmas
    and here it is

    Though it is not a Christmas song, James Taylor’s setting of Reynolds Price’s text, “New Hymn,” is hauntingly comforting, even as it is disquieting.

    Till our few atoms blow to dust
    or form again in wiser lives
    or find your face and hear our name
    in your calm voice the end of night
    if dark may end.
    Wellspring gold of dark and day,
    be here, be now.

    Emmylou Harris’ record Light of the Stable has long been one of my favorites. The last verse of the title track says,

    Come now, there it shines so bright
    To the knowing light of the stable
    Lean close to the child so dear
    Cast aside your fear and be thankful


    Hallelujah.

    Peace,
    Milton

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    2 Responses to advent journal: singing in the dark

    1. December 16, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      Beautiful tunes … thank you for sharing them with all of us.

    2. December 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      I remember why I wanted to know you.

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