Tuesday, November 22, 2016

There's a Song in the Air

“Expect the unexpected.” Have you heard that phrase before? It is ironically common these days, such that we almost expect to hear it uttered in certain surprising circumstances. Which of course, defeats its purpose entirely.

This week we are entering a season rich with traditions. Advent, the four weeks of preparation before the twelve days of the Christmas season begin, is a time during which much is deeply familiar. Heirloom decorations are unpacked, plans for annual gatherings of family and friends are made, and greenery and lights are hung on nails that were driven in years ago.

And of course, the familiar music of the season begins.

No other season has music connected to it quite like this one does. Other holidays have musical associations, but the songs of the Christmas season are deeply imprinted on our hearts. Hearing a favorite Christmas song elicits nostalgia, stirs emotions, and elevates our demeanor.

I really enjoy hearing a familiar song in a new and creative arrangement. It’s “tradition with a twist,” a well-known song with a new harmonization or a well-done countermelody or done in a different style than is usually heard. A good new arrangement of a traditional Christmas song manages to connect to the memories of the past while at the same time being fresh and engaging in the present.

Songs play a significant role in Luke’s version of the birth of Jesus. Mary, Zechariah, John, and Simeon, not to mention the angels themselves, all sing songs of praise and worship as a part of Luke’s account. During Advent at Campbell UMC, we are going to use these songs as our Scriptural focus for our worship services, and maybe by doing so, hear the story in a brand new way. In other words, “expect the unexpected!”

“There’s a Song in the Air!” during Advent this year, and all are welcome to sing along!

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