I know that art is perhaps the strongest means we have to recall the moment of God's touch, and to affirm the profound, private message of faith we are given when we touch God. I believe it is the artist's job to make pieces that are vehicles for the "moment of the touch."
- Composer Libby Larsen in her forward to the choral anthem “Lord, Before This Fleeting Season”
Last Thursday I presented a program on carols to the First Name Club following their monthly luncheon. It included select examples from both the Advent and Christmas seasons (yes, carols aren’t always about Christmas!) which we engaged in with stories of their creation, listened to, and even sung for good measure. What I came to viscerally be reminded of was the value of ritual for humanity. Specifically, the need of a song for every season.
Whether it be carols sung in December, Christmas music delivered through grocery store speakers while shopping, or the often impromptu performance of “Happy Birthday” to an unsuspecting recipient, we not only have a song for just about any season but we tend to insist upon its use. But sometimes, songs with messages that challenge us can be greeted hesitantly. Once we allow them in though, we can be changed. We can gain new perspective. We can even potentially have that "moment of the touch" in the realm of God.
I leave you with an encore sharing of the following Advent poem text set by composer Libby Larsen in her sublime anthem “Lord, Before This Fleeting Season.” It reminds us beautifully of perhaps what we don’t especially wish to hear this busy time of the year —the message of Advent. To slow down. To prepare our hearts for transformation in God. To embrace the promise of hope, peace, joy, and love. And perhaps even to have “a leaning to hear carols.”
Lord, before this fleeting season is upon us,
Let me remember to walk slowly.
Lord, bless my heart with Love and with quiet.
Give my heart a leaning to hear carols.
Grace our family with contentment,
And the peace that comes only from You.
Lord, help us to do less this busy season;
Go less; stay closer to home; kneel more.
May our hearts be Your heart.
May we simply, peacefully, celebrate You.*
*“Simply Celebrate You — an Advent poem” by Mary Ann Jindra, Permission to print: Christian Copyright Solutions #11133