Updated: Dec 6, 2022
A voice crying in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the Lord”. For two weeks every Advent we hear about John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, who lived in the desert eating locusts and wild honey, proclaiming the message “Prepare! Make a pathway for our Lord!” We heard in Rev. Christopher’s sermon last Sunday that there are three Advents (at least) for us to ponder in this time of awaiting and preparation. Preparing to celebrate the actual birth, preparing to receive Jesus into our hearts, and preparing for the Second coming whenever that will happen.
In addition to a time of preparation, Advent is also a season of in-between. We are held in balance between the world, all giddy with shopping, parties, Santa, Frosty, and Hallmark moments, yet our faith journey has us in sober contemplation of the gift of Love to be given, and how we might be able to receive it.
For church musicians Advent preparation means rehearsing Christmas music during the weeks while being fully in Advent on Sunday mornings. This duality led me to find a way to wrestle with the contrast of the secular Christmas holiday which seemed to be competing with the Christmas I observe.
I came to realize that, in a way, the secular holiday with its jolly spirit, is not only needed at this time of year with its cold darkness, but it is in a way a preparation, a rehearsal for the Joy of Christmas itself. As I prepare choirs for Christmas music and listen to Christmas Concerts, and recordings, and watch my annual favorite Christmas movies and specials I am preparing anew to understand the enormity of God’s gift of Love for us in the birth of Jesus.
As we hold ourselves in this dual time of preparation I pray that we can find a way to prepare to recognize and welcome the newborn babe, the Gift of Love into our lives while we simultaneously enjoy the joys of the secular season. Let us prepare the way for the Angels’ joyous message of Jesus’ Birth, right into our hearts…however we can.
Director of Music