Advent is a season of waiting, reflection, and renewal: the hope for new light to enter our lives. It is one of the briefest seasons of the liturgical year second only to Christmas, lasting just four weeks. It is easy to miss. The busyness of Christmas shopping, arranging of travel plans, preparing for house guests (planning and preparing church services!) often overshadows the present: this fleeting season of Advent.
The annual Longest Night service, this year on December 22 at 6:00 p.m., acknowledges the shorter and darkening days of December but welcomes the promised Light of Christmas. A beautiful Advent message. On December 15, we will experience services of lessons and Advent carols. Inspired by the Anglican Advent Carol Service instituted in 1934 at King's College, Cambridge, the words of the Old Testament prophets will be followed by seasonal carols telling of the coming Light in Christ's birth.
The choir anthem offering for the 11:00 a.m. "choral" service on December 15 beautifully speaks to the heart of Advent. "Lord, Before This Fleeting Season," a poem by Mary Ann Jindra, asks God for an enlightened appreciation of the season: "to walk slowly," to give our "heart a leaning to hear carols," to "do less," "go less," and, most importantly, to "simply, peacefully, celebrate You." A lovely meditation for this time of the year and one duly needed.
The composer Libby Larsen masterfully sets Jindra's text and succeeds in embodying the tidings of Advent. I leave you with the following prayerful synopsis of this work by the composer herself....have a Blessed Adventide.
There are moments in life, private moments, when we seem to see beyond the reality of our lives -- when we are flashes of clairvoyance. At these times we know joy, peace, wisdom, hope, with a surety that sustains our belief in God. So stunning they are, that we are simply unable to recreate even a pale shadow of that eternal touch. All we can do is believe in the knowledge that such moments exist for every human being.
Director of Music/Organist
Mark Heiskanen has been Plymouth's Director of Music since September 2017. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Mark has experience and great interest in a diverse range of musical styles including jazz, rock, musical theatre, and gospel. He is thrilled to serve a congregation and staff that values diversity and inclusion in all facets of life. Read his mostly-weekly Music Minute here.