Today is the second Sunday of Advent, for all you liturgical types. The second candle will be lit by a family, gathered around the altar and the Advent wreath, in the Methodist Church, for example. The second candle is known by many as "Bethlehem's Candle". Micah was the Old Testament prophet who prophesied that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come forth for Me One to be ruler over Israel, whose origins are of old, from the days of eternity.
Micah 5:2 (BSB)
As I sit here in the early Sunday morning, sipping coffee, I am thinking about what a delight it is to go to service in a little while and to experience the annual Christmas musical play, put on by our children, guided by our dedicated cadre of children's workers.
Before going into school administration, I was a music teacher in the public schools. For some of those years, I was also a part-time minister of music in a Presbyterian church. I wish I knew how many Christmas programs I have planned and carried out over the years. Probably somewhere between 100 and 200. I was told yesterday's "dress rehearsal" of the children's musical did not go as planned. There were problems with building access, with the sound system, etc. Having heard that, I could surely relate. Rarely, in my history, did a dress rehearsal inspire confidence into my heart, as the director, lol. But, you know, somehow all of them went off beautifully, and God got the glory, as it should be.
Exactly two years ago, today, I was on sort of a December holiday in Blairsville, with a girlfriend. We got snowed in up there by a huge, unexpected bounty of beautiful, frigid whiteness. It was glorious! The unexpected and unwelcome part of it was that I had to forfeit on Sunday afternoon going to my beloved Christmas concert by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Just could not get there because of the roads. Broke my heart!
But, Lord willing, today, I'll be blessed by hearing the children sing of Jesus' birth, and then will go on to the downtown ATL and hear that annual concert that just "makes" Christmas for me every year. Any year I have to miss it saddens my soul. It's just that good. (My beloved Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus will celebrate its 50th birthday, in the 2020-21 season. What a blessing!)
Another fave Christmas musical experience is an annual "Messiah" sing-along we have in our local area. There is a chamber music vocal group that leads this at a large Methodist church every year. Hundreds of "regular folk" like me bring along their copy of Handel's "Messiah" and sing along to the choruses, led by the man who leads the chamber group. Solos are sung by the group members, and enjoyed by us in the pews/chorus.
Do you have a favorite musical experience at Christmas time? How does it help you grow closer to God, as you await Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? If so, comment on this blog post! I'd love to hear about it!
I pray you will let the glorious music of Christmas permeate and feed your soul this Advent season.
*ASO Chorus rehearsing the "Hallelujah Chorus" for their Handel's "Messiah" concert, in Symphony Hall