• advent journal: songs for the journey

    by  • December 3, 2016 • advent journal, music • 3 Comments

    As the first week of Advent comes to a close, here are some songs that can help make up a soundtrack for the season. They aren’t necessarily Christmas songs, but they speak to me.

    First is Amos Lee’s “Cup of Sorrow.”

    I want to drink from your cup of sorrow,
    I want to bathe in your holy blood.
    I want to sleep with the promise of tomorrow,
    I know tomorrow may never come.

    Karla Bonoff is one of the song writers whose songs run across many years for me. “Home” is one I keep coming back to.

    the people I’ve seen
    they come in between
    the cities of tiring life
    the trains come and go,
    but inside you know
    the struggle will soon be a fight

    and home sings me of sweet things
    my life there has it’s own wings
    to fly over the mountains
    though I’m standing still

    This past summer, as I mentioned earlier, I spent a week with Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin at Camp Copperhead, a songwriting camp. Here’s my favorite song from their collaborative record, Colvin and Earle called “Tell Moses.” The last verse says,

    Ferguson, Missouri, people in the streets
    hands above their head standing up to the police
    waiting for a hero to step into the breach
    ‘ain’t nobody coming so it’s up to you and me

    tell Mary, tell John
    say the hourglass is empty and the judgment day has come
    tell preacher, farmer Brown
    say Joshua’s blown his trumpet and the walls are comin’ down
    sell sister, brother too
    tell them where they’re gonna meet us and what we’re gonna do
    tell Steven, tell Shawn
    there’s a message in the music, everybody sing along

    water is wide, milk and honey on the other side
    water is wide, milk and honey on the other side
    water is wide, milk and honey on the other side
    keep on traveling along

    Thanks to my summers at camp with the folks from Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, I learned of David Ramirez and his song “Find the Light.”

    I wish upon you an easy life
    I wish upon you hard times
    I hope you know that both joy and pain
    each need their moment to shine
    I wish you ears that are quick to listen
    that you’re slow to use that tongue
    but most of all I wish upon you love
    as the sun sets the moon begins to rise
    so even in the darkness you’ll find the light

    Following the light, I’ll move to a song called “There’s a Light” on Emmylou Harris‘s record, “Light of the Stable.” The song was written by Beth Nielsen Chapman.

    there’s a light, there’s a light in the darkness
    and the black of the night cannot harm us
    we can trust not to fear for our comfort is near
    there’s a light, there’s a light in the darkness

    I was with some friends not long ago who reminded me of another of Beth Nielsen Chapman‘s songs, “How We Love,” which feels like a good closing song.

    life has taught me this
    everyday is new
    and if everything is true
    all that matters when we’re through is how we love
    faced with what we lack
    some things fall apart
    but from the ashes new dreams start
    all that matters to the heart is how we love
    how we love, how we love
    with the smallest act of kindness
    in a word, a smile, a touch
    in spite of our mistakes
    chances come again
    if we lose or if we win
    all that matters in the end is how we love



    Blogging since December 2005


    3 Responses to advent journal: songs for the journey

    1. December 3, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      Can’t wait to hear these. On the road in SC till Monday night. Your “letters from a friend” are such a grace Milton. Your friend and admirer (not creepy), Bob.

    2. Kay
      December 3, 2016 at 11:17 pm

      Milton, I love your words, thanks for sharing this season with us, what a gift you are. Oh, and thanks for tonight’s lullaby! Rest well.

    3. April
      December 4, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you, Milton. You are a light in the darkness to me.

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