Originally posted December 24, 2012/ edited December 23, 2014:
“O God, let me rise to the edges of time and open my life to your eternity;
Let me run to the edges of space and gaze into your immensity;
Let me climb through the barriers of sound and pass into your silence;
And then, in stillness and in silence let me adore You,
Who art Life-Light-Love
Without beginning and without end
Who has bound heaven to earth in the birth of a Child”
-Sister Ruth “The Oxford Book of Prayer”
It happened 14 years ago, when I experienced the first Christmas without my mother alive. And it has continued every year since. I have grown weary of Christmas songs and have longed for and cherished Christmas hymns. I think I noticed this for the first time when I heard “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and I just felt my stomach churn. Anyone who has experienced the first Christmas after a loss can no doubt relate. I wondered if I would ever get into the “spirit” again. And then I started listening, really listening, to the lyrics in Christmas hymns. I heard the theme that strikes me every year. The theme of a tinge of the mournful, and acknowledgement of the heavy loads we carry as humans, and the breaking through of light into a dark and weary world.
From It Came Upon a Midnight Clear:
Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.
For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
I am ready to sing back this song. To try in my feeble way to bring some hope to a weary world, perhaps to help a soul feel it’s worth, and in whatever way I can, to take a small light, like the candles we will hold in tomorrow’s Christmas Eve service, and carry it forward during this coming year.