– Br. Michael, ofm
When I was a child, my bedroom was at the top of the stairs which lead up from the kitchen. For years I woke up to mom and dad in the kitchen getting ready for the day and the radio playing songs (still on the same station to this day). I can’t recall if any of the songs I heard lofting up the stairs to my room had an impact on me, yet what they always felt like was an invitation to leave the womb of my room and join the day.
Each day we are surrounded by sounds and noise. Some we tune out, others when upon hearing them we quiet down to listen up and still others happen without much attention from us. Advent is an opportunity to pay attention. What sounds and songs are speaking to us? Which ones have become just noise? Which ones are inviting us to leave our surroundings to encounter our God in the unexpected during this short, holy and busy season?
Whether this season is a mad rush or has plenty of space to be, songs will loft into our space and invite us to pay attention. Carols play above us in grocery stores and shopping centres, we find radio stations to match our moods, and our playlists will bring us comfort and joy. The invitation of songs this season is to let the words speak to our heart the messages of hope, peace, joy and love. These become the foundation for the year ahead not just in the moments of the season, when these words are most on our mind.
Music has long been a gift for me, although I do not play an instrument, music gets under my skin and into my bones, awakening my soul. I have found music wraps itself around my heart and calls me to pay attention, or in Advent terms to “Keep Awake.” Christmas Carols bring me great delight and yet over the past few years I have found Advent Hymns have reclaimed their place in this season. Instead of rushing to carols for the whole month of December I often find myself lingering with Advent Hymns. Whether that is humming O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, or listening to People Look East or singing Listen, My People, I am invited into the waiting of this season and I find my heart eagerly looking forward to the coming celebrations.
Jeanne Hunt has written a beautiful Advent Prayer, which in part prays: In night’s quiet, when we have time and silence to think, the songs of this season come drifting into our minds. In the quiet they are welcomed, and our spirits somehow delight in this sweet Advent time.
May our spirits delight in this season with hymns and carols and sounds as we journey the road to Bethlehem. Throughout this season I will recommend some Advent Hymns (and a maybe a few Christmas Carols too!) for reflection. May they loft into your space, into your mind and and invite you to join the day meeting God in the unexpected.
For your listening and heart reflection as we journey in this First Week of Advent:
The King Shall Come – Trevor Thomson
A beautifully haunting reflection on the twofold nature of Christ coming among us in Bethlehem and Christ coming again.
What are you longing for?
Where are you noticing light as winter settles in?
Blessed Be the Lord – The Dameans
This folk tune is scripted from the Canticle of Zechariah. The words of praise Zechariah gave when John (the Baptist) was born, the precursor of Christ.
What promises keep you grounded?
How is hope defined in your life?
As we step into this Advent Season,
may are ears attune to the message of hope,
and may the sounds and songs of the season guide us on the way
as our God comes to us in unexpected ways.
Photo Credit: Rod Flores