The First Sunday in Advent was a couple days ago, various communities have started having their Santa Clause Parades, and we are all starting to think forward to Christmas, it has got me thinking about what is really important.
I can close my eyes and remember a Christmas Eve service when I was a little girl. We attended a mid-size-Anglican church in a city with three Anglican churches (high, middle, and low; we were low). That night the sanctuary was packed,the ushers had grabbed chairs from the basement and were lining them up along the aisles and the back to seat everybody.
I had never seen so many people in our church.
At the end of the service the lights were turned off and two people walked to the front. With the pipe organ quietly playing Silent Night, these two people lit small candles of their own from the altar candle. They then started lighting the small candles everybody had been given. People started singing Silent Night as this little light was passed from person to person until the sanctuary was quite bright and the voices were drowning out the organ. To a little girl's eyes it was magic and wonder.
This isn't my church, this is an image I grabbed off the web. :)
In church now, for safety reasons, there are small battery-operated lights that just look like candles. I miss the flickering light of the candles, but that electric light does mean that little children can participate in this tradition.
People complain about the consumerism, the hustle and bustle, and the expectations they think they need to meet at this time of year, and to some degree there is validity in these complaints, but that's not the whole story. These memories that I formed as a child, which I now share with my child, who will someday share with her child, are what I treasure most.
So, sometime over these next few weeks of Advent, I encourage you to make a cup of hot chocolate, put your feet up, and watch Charlie Brown's Christmas. Think about the memories important to you and consider, without all the hustle and bustle, Christmas would get about as much notice as Pentecost.
My husband, he works at a book store and dresses this way for the week before Christmas. It's not exactly the store's dress code, but people come in that week specifically looking for him; their Christmas elf to help them find the perfect gift. Some people think he is strange and avoid him, but that's ok, he doesn't want to talk to the grumpy people either. :)
In honour of Christmas, and because this is a blog for an organ company, I've collected a selection of Christmas music played on organs.
organist: Luca Raggi
Hauptwerk Organ, Sample set: Willis Organ, Hereford Cathedral,
organist: Rob Charles
All Saints Church Oystermoth
organist: Cameron Carpenter
Marshall & Ogletree: Middle Collegiate Church, New York City
organist: Rudolph Lucente
Main Conservatory, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA
organist: David Christensen
organist: Ryan Hardy
organist: Samuel Metzger
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
organist: Juan Cardona Jr
Marr & Colton Theatre Organ: Connecticut Valley Theatre Organ Society
organist: Frederick Hohman
Murray-Harris: Stanford University's Memorial Church
Notre Dame Metz
Cavailee-Coll (This organ is available for Hauptwerk)
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more....