Much of this second week of Advent has been about the music of the season, my favorite part. Since I was six years old, very few Christmas seasons have passed that I did not sing or take some part in a holiday program, pageant, play or concert. I have sung with a 100-voice community chorus and with a 10-voice choir in a country church. When I was a child, there were school programs presented for PTA (which met at 3:30, during the last hour of the school day) and Junior Choir performances at church. I never had an outstanding voice, I was just a decent choir member. (We are a musical family, but the “talent fairy” skipped the middle child and sprinkled her music dust on the sibs on each side of me.) My rather utilitarian voice is fading, and singing at Christmas is something I will give up reluctantly, when the time comes.
Every day this week I have listened/sung along with the performance CD of Journey of Faith (created by Phillip Keveren and Tony Wood), the cantata our First UMC will offer during the worship service on the Third Sunday of Advent (tomorrow). In preparation for this, we added an extra rehearsal this week.
One of the joys of singing the cantata this year (and in years past) is finding a new song or a new setting of an older piece that speaks to my heart. Journey of Faith contains a contemporary setting of John 3:16 that is truly beautiful. I still favor “God So Loved the World”, the anthem from The Crucifixion (John Stainer, 1887), that I have heard and sung so many times. But “God Loved The World”* from this year’s cantata inspires and lifts me this Advent Season.
These days I am also enjoying KVHU radio (“The Voice of Harding University”), mostly as I drive to and fro. They have played Christmas music continually since December 1. It is quite an eclectic array of songs, from “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas” to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”
The last day of this second week was spent in a small gift exchange with some of my favorite people, the Central Arkansas Writers (at our regular monthly meeting). These women help me, inspire me and enable me to do my best writing and challenge me always to do better than my best. I am eternally grateful to them and for them.
*”God Loved the World” words and music by Jeremy Johnson, Paul Marino, and Jennifer Shaw c2010