Sure, the Christmas soundtracks in the shopping malls have all been thrown aside, so that we can now ponder the immortal truths put forward by pop singers. But for me, the days that follow the Nativity (what we call Yuletide) – and they are many – each contain their own wonder. Especially at a time of year when I can spend much more of my time with children and grandchildren, the messages of the Incarnation seem so tangible, so close.
It is a time, these holidays, when thoughts reach out across vast distances: cards sent by loved ones and friends, separated by miles and even by oceans, seem all the more powerful. Messages conveyed at this time seem all the more bright, even as the world slowly tilts its path away from the winter solstice once more. Light means more. Words, and music, provide that illumination.
Songs, too, seem to take on their own immutable power in the days following the Nativity: they announce things, bring hope, give listeners something tangible on which to place those hopes. And this year, I received something of a Christmas present, from a group of people I've never worked with, or even conversed with before.
It all started when one of my former choir members, Jeff Bray, wrote to me looking for some resources for the song, "O Mary of Promise." Years ago, I had written the text of this piece – not something I usually do – and joined it to the beautiful, ancient Irish tune Siobhan ní Laoghaire. Jeff pointed me to a You Tube website, and simply said, "have you seen this?!"
Well. I had not. And after seeing this post, a heartfelt note of congratulations was sent to the young men and women of the Bradford Catholic Youth Choir, in the Diocese of Leeds, far away in the Midlands of England, under the superb direction of Benjamin Saunders.
Such is the power of the Word became Flesh – that Words, and Songs, and Love itself, can leap over great distances, even over oceans, to gain a small but beautiful glimpse of the Incarnate Love so promised by this season.
For with God, there is no limit to the reach of a thought, or of a song. 'Tis the season when Love (with perhaps a little bit of help from the Internet) traverses the world in a heartbeat.
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Location:Crestmoor Dr, Boone, United States