Monday, December 17, 2012

Lessons and Carols

We went to the Festival of Lessons and Carols.
My daughter, my baby son, and I.
And on the way, I told Julia
that after a tragedy, when the news media
descends like starving buzzards on the injured and stunned,
we can do two things
that are correct.
Two holy choices.

The best choice is to fast and pray.

The second-best choice is to meet
in community
and worship.

We will not fasten our eyes on the news.
We will fix our eyes on Jesus.
In Him we find life.
His life is the light in which we live.

The service is planned every year by my friend Vicki.
Another friend plays the violin.
 Near the beginning of the service,
Ruthie began to play a familiar melody.

Then, she deftly
wove the song into the hymn
"Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus."

"From our fears and sins release us.
Let us find our rest in Thee."

The melody changed and changed again.
 The lyrics on the screen changed too.

From the anthem, "Our hope is not yet lost,
The ancient hope."

And then, the Christian hymn:
"Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art."

 It was just right.
I wept, as the baby boy in my arms 
happily smiled at the people in the pew behind us.

The Nine Lessons and Carols is a long service.
It ushers the worshiper from the Garden to the Advent.
Near the end of this program,
a soloist sang "Silent Night."
In German.

And I thought of my great-grandparents,
whose parents were immigrants because of the Kaiser,
raising their nine children
without German.

Because the fear and loathing of our nation
had turned in one accord against this mighty little country
which was ruled by a person
who was ruled by the spirit of murder.

My goodness. So much healing.
Many years later, but still....
so much healing.

"The balm in Gilead,"
the anthem resounds,
"Your Healer in Jerusalem,
Your Healer is God."

The service ended, and I was glad to have worshiped with true worshipers.

My girl and my baby and I walked out into the icy night air.
I was still sad, yes.

But I will proclaim
and hope
and pray
and sing
with all my heart,
that the One who made us fit to be with Him
is going to make all things right.

Come, Lord Jesus.


  1. so perfectly written
    such beautiful truths
    God is sovereign
    worthy of our praise
    I agree...
    Come, Lord Jesus

  2. Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
    Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
    Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the Trinity!